The latest edition of the The Cask Report 2019 also found the average number of cask brands on the bar has fallen from 4.4 to 2.8 in two years, meaning competition for space is intense.
Cask Report editor Matt Eley said: “Given the sheer scale of competition and the level of support available from reputable brewers, it is perverse there are still pubs that serve cask ale in poor condition.”
The report also showed almost three quarters (70%) of cask drinkers have been served an off pint, which Eley outlined was deterring them from going back to the pub (40% said so) and puts them off the brand (according to 39%).
On the cost of cask, Eley added: “The most perplexing thing is the price difference between craft keg beers and cask beers.
“Drinkers are paying, on average, £1.50 per pint more for craft keg than they are for cask. Given all that goes into creating a great pint of cask ale, it’s strange there is so little equivalence.
“The industry can massively reduce this gap. But, to increase profitability in the long term, it has to improve throughput and get quality right.”
Eley wasn’t the only one to call on operators to concentrate on cask quality in pubs. Paul Nunny of Cask Marque outlined why this is important.
He said: “If you can’t get the quality right, please don’t stock cask. Get it right and build a name for your pub on the back of it.
“Get the selection of beers right for the size, type and location of the pub that you run. Involve your staff, making sure they are well trained, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and watch your sales grow.
“As our research shows, that’s what is happening in successful cask pubs where licensees care about their beer.”