Young consumers drive cask ale sales growth

Young consumers drive cask ale sales growth

Cask ale outperformed a shrinking UK beer market in 2009 thanks to growing interest in the category from younger consumers.

Sales of cask beer in the UK rose by 5% in value for the 12 months of 2009, to GBP1.4bn (US$2.2bn), according to The Cask Report, published today (27 September). The rise compares to a 2% drop in value sales for the UK beer market as a whole in 2009.

Last year was also the first since 1994 that cask ale has not reported a decline in volume sales. "That may not sound impressive - but it is," said the report's author, Pete Brown. He said that 2009 cask ale volumes remained level with 2008 against a beer market down by 4%.

"It’s hard to view this as anything other than a strong performance from cask ale," said Brown.

Young people helped to drive the category forward last year, with the number of 18-24-year-olds drinking cask ale up by 17% on 2008, according to figures from market research group TGI. Around 3,000 extra pubs also began serving cask ale.

Brown added: "We might be emerging from recession, but we’re not jumping back to conspicuous consumption: instead, we’ve become more thoughtful about our purchases and in our food and drink choices, we’re looking for tradition, provenance and wholesomeness – all values that cask ale can provide in spades.”

The Cask Report is sponsored by several brewers, including Greene King and Fuller, Smith & Turner, as well as the Campaign for Real Ale.

For the full report, click here.