The fact that a pint of cask beer, a product that has to be crafted, handled well and looked after, is often cheaper than a standard lager totally undermines the perception of the category in the eyes of the consumer.
Value is a funny thing, and it’s somewhat hard to quantify, but there’s one way most consumers benchmark the value or quality of a product, and that’s on price.
If you’re asking someone to pay £5 for a pint, the perception of quality and the premium nature of that product is much higher than if you are charging £3.
It’s commonsense really, isn’t it.
Cask should be a premium product - it’s a USP for pubs, and something that to get right takes great care and skill. And we’re punting it out for peanuts while flogging off the kegged lagers and craft beers for nearly £7 a pop.
Why do we fight so hard against the idea of increasing cask beer prices? A survey we ran at the start of our Cask Project worryingly revealed that over 65% of operators said that cask beer should not be more expensive.
Is it because campaigners push hard for prices to be kept low? To keep it more affordable? Who’s that benefiting? Those same campaigners will often then ask for a discount on top of that? Again, to whose benefit?
If we genuinely believe in the quality and need for pubs to serve great cask beer, we have to stop giving it away so cheaply.
Maybe if we charge a better price, and make a better margin, we might start taking the category a little more seriously.