Asahi teams up with YouTube vlogger to get cask ale recognised by UNESCO

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Correct procedures: cask ale requires a lot of skill to make and keep (credit: Getty/urbancow)
Correct procedures: cask ale requires a lot of skill to make and keep (credit: Getty/urbancow)

Related tags Cask ale Beer Craft beer Pubco + head office Social responsibility Legislation

Asahi UK has teamed up with YouTube vlogger The Craft Beer Channel in a bid to earn UNESCO recognition for cask ale as an example of ‘intangible cultural heritage’.

The campaign, which is called Keep Cask Alive​, will begin its work to persuade UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to take action on cask ale after a video series ends later this month (October).

Asahi, which owns Fuller’s Griffin Brewery and cask ale producer Dark Star, is funding the five-episode documentary series made by The Craft Beer Channel​. The series that began during Cask Ale Week​ and will run until 27 October looks at the UK’s unique cask ale culture and the cask beer faces in the modern world, while focusing on the beers, people and breweries that make it great.

With Britain’s traditional serving format still in severe decline​ and heavily affected by the Covid-related lockdowns, there’s never been a more important time to support real ale and tell its stories in a way that appeals to modern drinkers.

Get more people involved

On their journey around England, The Craft Beer Channel​ presenters Jonny Garrett and Brad Evans “visit a traditional boozer on Old Street’s silicon roundabout, witness a brew on one of the world’s oldest brew kits, visit the breweries that kick started the craft beer movement, down pints with punks in Margate’s micropubs, push cask ale to its limits with bold New England IPAs and explore the history of Fuller’s Griffin Brewery’s own world-famous Vintage Ale”. Many different breweries and real ale pubs are featured, including interviews and tours with Hook Norton, Abbeydale, Dark Star and Gadds.

It is hoped more breweries, media and drinkers will get involved with the campaign as it develops.

Garrett said: “Both Brad and I grew up drinking cask ale, but we’ve definitely neglected it on the channel until now. With the decline it’s endured and how hard it was hit by the pandemic, we thought it was vital that we stepped up and tried to make people re-examine their prejudices and assumptions.

“While we’re looking to protect it, we wanted to make something joyful, modern and narrative to get people excited and I think we’ve done that with the stories we’ve told.”

Beer we go: Jonny Garrett (left) and Brad Evans

The best way to present beer

Evans added: “Cask, at its best, is by far the best way to present beer. It’s like fresh bread out of the oven and it’s crazy that we don’t celebrate it more in the UK. We’ve got really good at telling the stories of American-style breweries but looking much closer to home has been a bit of a revelation for us, and I hope it is for the viewers too.”

Guy Stewart, head brewer at Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, said: “Vintage Ale is always a key calendar moment for us. It’s a fantastic way to celebrate the unique and distinctly British creation that is cask ale and draw more consumers into the category as well as further engage existing drinkers.”

Asahi UK marketing director Sam Rhodes added: “Cask ale remains a key focus for the teams at Fuller’s and Dark Star. Our core brews from London Pride, ESB and Dark Star Hophead were all be prominent throughout the week and we also have a calendar of innovative seasonal brews to offer something new and exciting throughout various points of the year.

“Our draught and cask technical services are also available all year round to help operators provide the best experience possible for consumers, and to help keep them coming back to explore the category. Cask ale forms an important part of our portfolio at Asahi UK.”

An intangible cultural heritage is a practice, representation, expression, knowledge or skill considered by UNESCO to be part of a place's cultural heritage. Examples of these include the Mexican festival El día de los muertos (Day of the Dead), the Kirkpinar oil wrestling festival in Turkey, flamenco dancing in Spain and beer culture in Belgium.

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