Pub landlords pin hopes on cask ale

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cask ale Beer

Eighty per cent of pub owners expect sales of cask ale to rise
Eighty per cent of pub owners expect sales of cask ale to rise
Pub Landlords throughout the UK believe that cask ale could hold the key to the future of the Great British pub, according to new research by Molson Coors.

A survey of over 300 pub owners found that 80 per cent expect sales of cask ale to rise, while 80 per cent of pub owners who serve food believe that a more enticing food offer would build their business.

Simon Cox, independent on-trade sales Director for Molson Coors UK, said:” It’s no coincidence that very similar or identical products found in pubs are easy to find on supermarket shelves, allowing very direct price comparison.

“By contrast, the products that are less easy to replicate seem to offer the best prospects for the on-trade. The clearest example of this is cask ale and successful food led outlets.”

Signs of hope

Pete Brown, beer writer and historian, added: “It's no surprise, given the assault on pubs from all corners, that publicans feel pessimistic. But this survey stresses yet again where the signs of hope come from. If you're offering the drinker nothing different or more interesting from what he can get in the supermarket, they're not going to come to your pub.

“For most pubs cask ale is a lifeline and despite its new momentum, remains an untapped resource. In my job I see lots of boarded up pubs, but I also see a great many pubs that are struggling to keep up with demand for their beers – and those are the ones that not only stock cask ale, but also show a bit of thought and imagination with the overall drinks range.”

The pub industry is currently struggling​, with the perfect storm of high tax, below-cost supermarket promotions and the failure of national pub companies to support licensees continuing to buffet the sector. According to the survey, over a third (35 per cent) of pub owners believe their prospects for the next five years are either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

Tough market

“It is obviously a challenging time for the on trade,” added Cox. “but we’re committed to working with our customers to help them provide the atmosphere, the products and the experience that will enable them to thrive even in this tough market.”

On a more positive note, the survey found that the industry is very willing to innovate to try to counteract the increasing trend of at-home drinking. Over three quarters (78 per cent) of landlords saw an opportunity in using websites and apps to promote their business and to help potential customers find them more quickly and easily.

Last month, BigHospitality reported the findings of the Cask Report 2011-12​, which concluded that cask ale drinkers are twice as likely to visit the pub as non-cask drinkers, spend more when they’re there and, most importantly, can’t switch to the supermarket to purchase their favourite drink.

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