The Cask Report 2018/2019

Cask beer sales declining faster than overall beer

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Declining market: cask sales have dropped by 6.8% in volume (image credit: zmurciuk/gettyimages.co.uk)
Declining market: cask sales have dropped by 6.8% in volume (image credit: zmurciuk/gettyimages.co.uk)
Sales of cask beer are falling quicker than overall beer sales in the on-trade, according to new figures compiled by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and featured in The Cask Report 2018-2019.

The BBPA found the cask beer market is down 6.8% in volume, according to moving annual total figures to July 2018.

The figures also showed that while the overall on-trade beer market has declined by 1.6% in volume during the previous 12 months, some categories are showing signs of growth such as premium lager (up 2.2%).

The report stated that cask is still a large part of the market with 55% of the overall on-trade ale category (according to CGA) and ale accounts for one quarter of all UK on-trade beer sales.

The decline in cask is largely seen in the more traditional amber beers but at the same time, golden beers are experiencing growth.

In the past 12 months, traditional golden ale volume sales have grown 6% according to CGA. Golden craft, which includes some cask, is up 22% in that period, suggesting there may be even more opportunity for cask in this area.

Of the 900 licensees surveyed for the report, 70% said they were either passionate about cask or they thought it was a great drink.

Despite the overall decline in sales, the majority of licensees said cask was a key part of their business and 84% said cask is as important to their business or even more so than it was four years ago.

Signs of growth

When it comes to pricing, CGA data showed that across amber, dark and golden, the price of a pint of cask is £3.39, £3.33 and £3.46 respectively.

These prices rise for what CGA calls ‘craft cask’ where the pricing across these three varieties is £3.64, £3.58 and £3.64.

The BBPA found the cask beer market is down 6.8% in volume, according to moving annual total figures to July 2018.

The figures also showed that while the overall on-trade beer market has declined by 1.6% in volume during the previous 12 months, some categories are showing signs of growth such as premium lager (up 2.2%).

The report stated that cask is still a large part of the market with 55% of the overall on-trade ale category (according to CGA) and ale accounts for one quarter of all UK on-trade beer sales.

The decline in cask is largely seen in the more traditional amber beers but at the same time, golden beers are experiencing growth.

In the past 12 months, traditional golden ale volume sales have grown 6% according to CGA. Golden craft, which includes some cask, is up 22% in that period, suggesting there may be even more opportunity for cask in this area.

Of the 900 licensees surveyed for the report, 70% said they were either passionate about cask or they thought it was a great drink.

Key part of business

Despite the overall decline in sales, the majority of licensees said cask was a key part of their business and 84% said cask is as important to their business or even more so than it was four years ago.

When it comes to pricing, CGA data showed that across amber, dark and golden, the price of a pint of cask is £3.39, £3.33 and £3.46 respectively.

These prices rise for what CGA calls ‘craft cask’ where the pricing across these three varieties is £3.64, £3.58 and £3.64.

However, the prices of these types of cask are cheaper than craft beers in keg format, which are priced at £5.16, £4.92 and £4.65 for the three styles.

Craft keg has seen a price rise over the past year with an average across the three styles of 5.3% whereas traditional cask price has risen by 2.4% in the previous 12 months.

Traditional ‘mainstream’ lager has seen a notable price rise, according to the report as it has increased by 9.4% to £3.96 a pint.

The average cost of a pint of mainstream lager of £3.96 puts it at a higher level than the price of cask ale throughout the nation. Cask ranges from the lowest price of £2.94 in Wales to £3.82 in London.

However, the prices of these types of cask are cheaper than craft beers in keg format, which are priced at £5.16, £4.92 and £4.65 for the three styles.

Craft keg has seen a price rise over the past year with an average across the three styles of 5.3% whereas traditional cask price has risen by 2.4% in the previous 12 months.

Traditional ‘mainstream’ lager has seen a notable price rise, according to the report as it has increased by 9.4% to £3.96 a pint.

The average cost of a pint of mainstream lager of £3.96 puts it at a higher level than the price of cask ale throughout the nation. Cask ranges from the lowest price of £2.94 in Wales to £3.82 in London.

Related topics: Beer

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