Drink Tank

Wise views on IPAs and craft lagers

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Hopeful of growth: Jaega Wise from Wild Card Brewery forecasts a rise in IPA and craft lager sales
Hopeful of growth: Jaega Wise from Wild Card Brewery forecasts a rise in IPA and craft lager sales

Related tags Beer Cask

The popularity of IPA and lager is not set to fade anytime soon, according to Wild Card Brewery head brewer Jaega Wise.

Wise shared her views on the future of the beer market at The Morning Advertiser​’s inaugural Drink Tank event.

She said: “IPA is going nowhere, we are just not seeing it fading at all, we are also not seeing lager fading either, craft lager is growing”. 

Many breweries founded at the start of the decade have just become able to fund the production of lagers, owing to the expensive chilling equipment, Wise said.

“It’s the world's number one drink.”

Meanwhile, BrewDog co-founder James Watt predicted further sales growth for craft beer and said IPAs could overtake lager as the UK’s best-selling beer in the next 10 to 15 years.

Wise said London breweries were under more pressure than ever owing to the amount of competition in the category, meaning that consumers’ standards for quality products and service were high.

She explained: “In London, 10 years ago there were 10 breweries. We found over the past year, the number of breweries opening has dramatically dropped off.” 

Mistakes that breweries could get away with in previous years could now be business-ending, she said, using the example of a brewery that made a T-shirt about how often its bottles exploded.

“Even the thought of that now is laughable,” she said.

“If you are a brewery in the capital, your quality has to be high.”

She predicted there would be mainstream growth in the IPA category alongside craft lager.

“Brut IPA was a bit of a flash in the pan trend. Overtly cloudy IPA is not going anywhere, I think there’s going to be some kind of iteration of that.”

Wise also forecast the sector would see “considerably more” barrel-aged beers enter the market in the coming months, as many London and Manchester breweries that started barrel programmes in 2014 became ready to release brews.

“We are going to be seeing considerably more barrel-aged beers on the market,” she said.

There should be a cross-industry effort to counter the decline in cask beer, with colder serves and a premiumisation approach being potential solutions. 

Cask makers could take inspiration from the premiumisation of keg beer by applying the “same theories into cask beer with more expensive styles, a style that someone would be willing to pay above the £4 a pint mark”.

Wise said: “The reality is we are not seeing any changes for the time being, it needs to be a cross-industry effort of small brewers and family brewers. 

“There’s nowhere that produces and sells cask beer like we do [in the UK] and it would be a shame to lose that because of the fashion.”

The brewer predicted there would be more big beer buyouts over the next five years, echoing takeover moves such as Lion’s acquisition of Fourpure and Magic Rock breweries.

She said: “Hopefully, we see the craft sector grow, it’s interesting how much the bigger players have been buying out breweries.”

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