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Friday, September 28, 2007

U.K. Brewers: Cask Sales are Not Dead

Can England's four largest beer marketers kill off cask ale? A report issued this week by boosters of handpulled real ale in pubs says no.

The report from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Independent Family Brewers of Britain, Society of Independent Brewers, Cask Marque Trust and Why Handpull says that cask ale is actually undergoing a revival as large brewers move away from the category.

The groups say that media reports about the 5 percent decline in the cask ale market are misleading because the reduced volume can be traced to four multinational brewers who account for 56 percent of the total ale market. The groups say these brewers are not supporting cask ale.

In a report titled The Intelligent Choice, the cask ale boosters say there are now more United Kingdom brewers producing cask ale than at any time in the last 50 years. The report also says that more pubs now stock cask ale is increasing, CAMRA membership is up and attendance at real ale festivals is setting records.

The groups point to regional and local brewers growth of 7.5 percent annually as a positive for cask ale. The groups say that the current decline in cask ale will likely turnaround in a few years.

That's good news for British beer drinkers and tourists. A visit to a pub in London or the British countryside is not complete without a pint of handpulled fresh cask ale. In my humble opinion, the sun should never set on a good pint of British bitter.

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