The Cask Report 2018

Cask is craft, not keg, according to consumers

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Cask consumers: demographic is vital says Paul Nunny
Cask consumers: demographic is vital says Paul Nunny
Cask Report 2018 director Paul Nunny has outlined what consumers really think about cask and keg beer ahead of the report's release later this month.

Nunny, who is Cask Marque's sales and marketing director, laid out the importance of cask ale to delegates at The Morning Advertiser​’s MA500 business club meeting in Edinburgh yesterday (14 September).

Nunny said: “The consumer thinks that more than 50% of cask ale is craft and they only think 8% of keg is craft.

“They also think small batch (producing unique products) and local defines craft. This was similar to the licensees’ definition.

“We came up with ‘all cask is craft but not all craft is cask’.”

Auditing cellars

Cask in numbers:

  • A cask drinker spends £1,029 a year in pubs, 25% more than the average pubgoer
  • 72% of cask ale drinkers choose the pub to drink in when with a group
  • Overall beer sales were down 2.4% in cask-driven pubs
  • In non cask-driven pubs, beer sales were down 4.7%

According to The Cask Report 2018​, to be considered a craft beer, it needs to satisfy some key attributes. For consumers, cask is strongly associated with craft with more than half (56%) of craft drinkers say cask is a craft beer.

However, when it comes to lager, 38% of lager drinkers are switching into the craft category.

The figures also found that half of all the 2,030 adults surveyed believed craft beers were brewed in limited batches or were from small breweries.

Key attributes

Local and regional production was an important factor to craft drinkers because half of respondents listed it as a key attribute of craft beer.

Nunny also highlighted a new scheme that Cask Marque is rolling out involving a star-scoring system, similar to the food hygiene rating.

He told delegates: “The cellar is vitally important so we now do audits of them and give them a star rating. However, many pubs are coming out as a three star, not a five star.

“The key areas are when the temperature is out of spec and glass cleanliness. We need to ensure when getting the beer from the cellar to the glass, there is the same temperature, keeping the coolness from the cellar to the glass.

“Sometimes the jackets around the pubs are not working or the pub doesn’t have them.

“But, if a pub can tick all of these boxes, they can increase profitability by £6,000.”

Cask ale drinkers

However, Nunny also laid out the importance of the cask ale drinker to the pub and how pubs need to capitalise on this to instil loyalty and increase sales.

He said: “If the quality of the beer is poor, 25% of customers would go to a different outlet. With cask ale drinkers, this figure rises to 35%.

“If the quality is poor, 44% of customers won’t have the same beer but with cask ale drinkers, this number increases to 60%.

“But, if the quality is good, 68% of customers would pay a higher price so if you get it right, you can charge more.

“However, if you can’t do cask properly, don’t do it at all because it doesn’t do our reputation any good or yours.”

Related topics: Beer

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