Monday, 21 April 2008

Bouncing downhill

I can’t help thinking that this article entitled Cask Ale Bouncing Back represents a large dose of special pleading. The overall market for beer is contracting, and within that market there is a continuing shift from drinking in the pub to drinking at home. There is less cask beer being drunk now than at any time in the lifetime of CAMRA. A rising share of a rapidly declining market is scant cause for celebration.

Yes, some smaller brewers are seeing substantial rises in sales, but most of that is simply due to the big boys largely vacating the cask segment, and in terms of the total beer market it is a drop in the ocean. Major regionals such as Robinson’s are seeing less beer sold through their own pubs than there has been in a generation. And the tidal wave of pub closures does not exactly bode well for a healthy future for cask. Indeed it is fast becoming no more than a niche product.

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