Despite the closing of pubs and the total decline of beer sales in the UK, one beer is performing well for the third year in a row. Real ale is becoming more popular and is out performing others in the beer market. The increase in sales is credited to both younger drinkers and women.
The beer trade report, Cask Report, titled Britain’s National Drink, 2010-2011, showed the real ale market grew by 5 per cent in 2009 compared to the overall beer market’s decline by 2 per cent. Though there was in increase in real ale sales, the market’s leader is still lager beers.
The report showed that real ale is being chosen over wine in many sophisticated food establishments. It also accounts for a larger percentage in pub sales than before now capturing 15.2 per cent of total beer sales. This means that about 1 in every 6 pints sold is real ale.
The number of younger drinkers choosing real ale is 17 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 years old. The report showed that not only are young drinkers and women are the big consumers but that real ale drinkers on average visit pubs more often, are higher spenders at the pubs, and they tend to have larger amounts of disposable income available.
Once thought of as a primarily northern drink, it is holding 42 per cent of all cask volume in London and South East. Scotland’s growth in real ale was up 32 per cent from last year.
The author of the report, Pete Brown, said: “Considering everything else that was happening in the beer market, with continuing pub closures and consumers switching from drinking in pubs to home consumption, it’s hard to view this as anything other than a strong performance from cask ale.
“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.”