London-based Fourpure Brewing Co’s Sean Knight told The Morning Advertiser (MA) that The Cask Report 2018 (due to be released next week) ought to be about promoting cask beer rather than comparing it to keg.
“To say cask is craft and keg is not divides drinkers instead of uniting them,” he said. “The whole idea of cask v keg is kind of redundant. We should be focusing on better quality beer of all types.”
“The bigger problem in the industry at the moment is quality of beer, and you can get bad quality beer in both cask and keg.”
Promoting cask and keg
Knight’s comments come after Cask Marque’s Paul Nunny told attendees at the MA500 business club meeting in Edinburgh that “all cask is craft but not all craft is cask.”
“The Cask Report is meant to be about promoting cask ale,” Knight said. “I read it every year and it’s a great read, but it should be about cask beer and not comparing it to keg. Overall, we should be looking to produce the best beer in both formats and promoting both formats, rather than trying to say one is better than the other.”
Explaining Fourpure’s decision to focus exclusively on keg beer, Knight said: “I think the style of beers we produce we feel suit keg beer and cans much better.
“I came from a cask brewery before I worked here and just this weekend have been drinking Harvey's Best Bitter as well as some Cloudwater! I'll drink any format of beer, as long as it is made well.”
“If you're brewing traditional English best bitters then I wouldn't personally put that into keg; it tastes great in cask,” he continued. “But if you're making an 8%-plus double IPA, you probably won't sell that quickly enough in cask.
“We should be focusing on making the best-quality beer for the consumer and not focusing on cask drinkers v keg drinkers.”
Quality 'through the whole chain'
On the subject of beer quality within the UK market, Knight added: “Quality is about making sure we are working in the brewery to make the best beer possible, whether that is the guy cleaning the floors or the brewer making the beer. Quality has to run through the whole chain and feed back into the process of continual improvement.
“Both keg and cask breweries need that and it’s not about which one is better or which one is worse.”
Last month, Fourpure’s head brewer John Driebergen told MA that training bar staff on how to sell craft beer and improving hygiene standards would help to improve their pub beer sales.
Driebergen also warned that pubs risked losing custom unless their staff were educated about what makes craft beer different.