Skip to main content
14th March 2013

Cyclops Beer tasting notes are the key to encouraging more pub goers to drink real ale

See, Smell and Taste descriptions help beer drinkers choose cask

According to market research carried out in February 2013, a large number of consumers are more likely to drink real ale if they can see in advance from simple tasting notes, such as those provided by Cyclops Beer, what the beer will taste like. Cyclops Beer uses symbols and clear, non-technical wording to show what a beer looks, smells and tastes like and how bitter or sweet it is. Cyclops Beer will be testing drinkers’ views of its tasting notes by running a session for consumers, the “Cyclops Beer Taster”, at SIBA’s BeerX in Sheffield on the 15th March.

The market research, demonstrating that simple descriptions at the bar showing look, smell and taste would encourage more pub goers to drink real ale is very encouraging for British breweries. It shows in particular that many younger pub goers would be tempted to try real ale if they could see at a glance what it would taste like. This is especially the case amongst those who have never tried cask before. The solution for many breweries and pubs is to make more use of Cyclops Beer, which has already been adopted by 244 British breweries and is the most widely used set of tasting notes in the beer industry.

Cyclops tasting notes were designed to demystify beer and help consumers to find their way around the huge variety of tastes, flavours and beer styles and make it easier for them to choose a beer. The scheme has been running since 2006 and has accredited 1475 beers from 244 breweries in the UK. It can be seen on pump clips, blackboards and beer mats around the UK.goers to drink  pub. Simple tasting notes, such as those provided by Cyclops Beer hat a real ale is going to taste like befo

Cyclops tasting notes use descriptions such as “treacle”, “coffee”, “zesty” “biscuit” “toffee” and liquorice” which at a glance convey to potential drinkers some of the tastes which they can enjoy from a glass of British ale.

Encouraging results from drinkers who have never tried real ale

Amongst young drinkers (aged 18-24) who have never tried real ale, 40% would be encouraged by tasting notes on the bar to give it a try. This willingness to try cask represents a huge opportunity for British brewers who simply need to provide drinkers with some basic information about their beer in order to drive trial of cask ale.

Nearly one quarter (24%) of all drinkers who have never tried real ale would be encouraged by tasting notes to sample it.

Drinkers who drink real ale occasionally or rarely would drink more cask if simple tasting notes were available on the bar

Nearly half (48%) of all young drinkers (25-34 years) who drink real ale now on an occasional basis would be encouraged to choose it more frequently if there were simple tasting notes explaining what a real ale looks, smells and tastes like.

40% of women who occasionally drink cask would also be persuaded by tasting notes to drink cask more often. This shows that women who have enjoyed real ale in the past are potentially very strong supporters of cask ale category if only they could have more information at the bar to help make the selection easier.

Over one third (35%)of all ‘occasional’ or ‘rare’ real ale drinkers would be encouraged to drink more real ale when deciding what to order at the bar if simple tasting notes explained what a real ale looked, smelt and tasted like were available.

Tony Jerome, Head of Marketing for CAMRA and a founding member of Cyclops Beer commented:

“The market research shows a clear opportunity for a breweries and pubs to sell more real ale. Choosing a beer can be difficult if you only have the name and ABV to go on, but Cyclops tasting notes show you what each real ale will look, smell and taste like, its beer style and how bitter or sweet it is.

“Cyclops is calling today for our tasting notes to be more widely adopted and used in pubs around the UK as the research shows that there is a demand for simple beer descriptions at the bar. Real ale is incredibly varied with a whole host of different styles and tastes. That’s what makes it so exciting, but it can be difficult to choose one that’s right for you if you don’t know what it’s going to taste like. That’s why more breweries and pubs need to use Cyclops Beer.”

Cyclops Beer tasting notes will feature at SIBA’s BeerX at Ponds Forge in Sheffield from March 13th-16th. The Cyclops Beer Taster is being run by Cyclops at the BeerX on Friday March 15th. Led by beer sommelier Annabel Smith, a group of consumers will feed back views on the descriptors used by Cyclops and help determine whether these are all useful and easy to understand, adding new descriptors as necessary.

Cyclops Beer is a not-for-profit organisation set up by the beer industry to provide simple tasting notes which make it easier for consumers to select a beer which they will enjoy. Cyclops launched a new website in 2012 which helps consumers search for cask ales, including searching by bitterness or sweetness. Users can search for beers, rate them and our Genius function will recommend more beers based on each individual’s taste profile. Cyclops Beer is launching a new leaflet for consumers on Friday March 15th.



Notes to Editors:

The market research was carried out by TNS between 22nd February 2013 – 26th February 2013

About Cyclops Beer:

  • Cyclops Beer was established in 2006 by a number of industry bodies. It is run by the Cyclops Beer Board and is a not-for-profit company which invests any surplus into extending understanding and usage of Cyclops Beer tasting notes amongst consumers and the trade.
  • The Cyclops Board consists of Everards Brewery, Cask Marque, SIBA and CAMRA, further information available at
  • Cyclops Beer provides breweries with an independent assessment of their beer by running a full laboratory analysis, including its bitterness and sweetness profile, organising a tasting session and then producing tasting notes and artwork for the brewery’s own use and on the Cyclops website.

For further information or to attend Cyclops Beer Taster on 15th March, 18.00-19.00 please contact:

Louise Ashworth, Ashworth PR & Marketing 07740 844 733,