The Drink Cask Fresh pilot campaign will run for 10 weeks with the intention of winning more backing from the beer and pub industry for a national rollout later in the year.
The initiative has been created by the Society for Independent Brewers’ (SIBA) head of comms and marketing Neil Walker and former Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) senior communications manager Katie Wiles, who has now been replaced as project manager by beer writer Pete Brown.
Drink Cask Fresh seeks to make cask ale more relevant and attractive to younger drinkers by positioning it as the freshest drink on the bar. Younger drinkers, who are currently less likely to drink cask, claim freshness is very important to them when choosing what to drink but are less likely to associate freshness with cask than with almost any other drink and is usually only on sale for three days.
Strong sustainability stories
PoS kits developed include bright wraps to fit around pump clips, branded glassware and bar runners, and beer mats with different messages about cask ale that link through to the campaign’s website. Here, customers can learn more about how cask ale is not only the freshest beer on the bar, but also has a variety of flavours, is skilfully brewed and kept, and has strong sustainability stories.
Brown said: “For years, all the research on cask ale shows few people totally reject it – they just don’t have a reason to choose it more often than they currently do when there are so many choices at the bar.
“We know what discerning young drinkers want when they go the pub. This pilot study will show when we make cask more visible and relevant to younger drinkers, they’ll start drinking more of it.”
Walker added: “Well-kept fresh cask beer really is a world-class drink and yet many younger people have never tried it.
“This campaign is about raising the visibility of cask, empowering pubs and bars to champion it and, ultimately, getting more people to not only try it for the first time but realise just how delicious it is.
“Cask beer is delivered fresh, often from a local independent brewery, and is only on sale for a limited period of time.”
The pilot phase runs from 6 March to 8 May and will see 27 pilot pubs run the initiative with a paired control pub, similar in profile and cask sales, measuring the difference between them.