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28th September 2022

Giving cask a good rap: Brewery marks Cask Ale Week with British rap artist, in bid to support pubs and breweries

  • Volume of cask is down by 25% in 2022, compared with 2019
  • Black Sheep Brewery has partnered with British rap artist Jester Jacobs in a bid to recruit more drinkers and highlight the challenges the category faces
  • Campaign has launched to mark Cask Ale Week (22nd Sept)
  • Black Sheep X Jester Jacobs rap video is available to watch here

It may be Britain’s national tipple, but cask beer is under threat. Having been in steady decline for over a decade, pub closures during lockdown saw the industry take a serious hit. And now the cost-of-living crisis is putting further strain on the drink – with recent CAMRA predictions suggesting the price of a pint could hit £20 by 2023.[1]

But one brewery is determined to fight the good fight for cask beer, in a unique way. To mark Cask Ale Week (22nd Sep), Black Sheep Brewery has enlisted the support of British rap artist, Jester Jacobs, as part of its ‘Drink Cask Beer’ campaign to save the national drink and recruit new drinkers to the category.

Unlike anything seen before in the cask industry, Black Sheep have commissioned Jester Jacobs to write and perform an honest, light-hearted rap about all things cask beer – detailing everything from the amazing qualities of the drink, to the unique brewing process, as well as the wider issues facing the cask beer industry and British pubs.

The rap video, part of Black Sheep’s year-long ‘Drink Cask Beer’ awareness campaign, is a bold attempt to attract younger drinkers to the category and help to reposition cask beer as a diverse, progressive and relevant drink in today’s broad market. In turn, Black Sheep hopes to help stabilise the decline of this most iconic British drink.

Despite being the ‘original craft beer’, data from Cask Ale Week shows that the volume of cask is down 25% this year, compared with 2019. Cask’s rate of sale also down 18% and number of stockists are down 13% [2]. The data suggests that consumers are drinking less cask beer and as a result, fewer pubs are selling it.

Charlene Lyons, Chief Executive at Black Sheep Brewery, commented: “Cask beer is facing unprecedented challenges right now. As a drink that can only be enjoyed at the pub, the cost-of-living crisis is having a double impact on cask beer – not only are increasing energy prices making it more expensive to brew, but the cost-of-living crisis also means people have less disposable income to spend on evenings at their local.

“At Black Sheep, cask beer is, and always has been, our passion. We firmly believe the cask category needs genuinely disruptive campaigns like these to help it back into growth. We know that younger repertoire drinkers are key to the future of cask, but these drinkers need cask brands to be more visible, vibrant and relevant – both at the bar and away from it too. So we’re hoping that through our partnership with Jester Jacobs, we can help broaden the appeal of cask beer to a younger and more diverse audience.”

Discussing the partnership with the brewery, Jester Jacobs added: “It’s easy to forget how much we missed pubs when we couldn’t visit them. They are often a place of sanctuary and need our support more than ever.

“It’s my pleasure and privilege to write a rap for Black Sheep Brewery, go to the pub with my pals and for this to be considered a positive contribution to a struggling industry.”

Charlene continued: “Cask beer plays a vital role in community pubs and is a genuine point of difference for the pub vs drinking at home. But the cost-of-living crisis is posing a very real threat to this beloved category and our beloved British pubs. That’s why we’re encouraging those who can to get behind our campaign – and ‘Drink Cask Beer’!

“We want to see the new government support pubs and we want drinkers to get out to support their local too. To quote Jester Jacobs… ‘Liz Truss should discuss saving pubs as a priority. You can do your part by drinking beer of high quality!’.”

The Drink Cask Beer campaign has previously seen the brewery partner with comedian Maisie Adam to address the haters of cask beer directly, as well as opening a pop-up pub ‘The Breathe Inn’, beneath Yorkshire’s iconic Ribblehead Viaduct, serving its carbon-neutral cask beer, Respire.

Black Sheep’s collaboration with rap artist Jester Jacobs is not the end for the campaign. The brewery is planning further instalments with more creatives in the near-future, to continue its mission to protect and grow the cask beer category.



[2] Cask Ale Week & Oxford Partnership 2022

Notes to editors:

The Black Sheep Brewery is one of British brewing’s most famous stories and has grown from humble beginnings to become a multi-award-winning company, with its beers enjoyed around the world.

As well as its Visitor Centre bar and bistro in Masham, the brewery also owns and operates a growing number of pubs and bars across the region, including The Three Legged Mare and the Last Drop Inn, both in York, and Leeds venues Mr Foley’s Tap House and the Black Sheep Tap & Kitchen.

Black Sheep frequently wins prestigious awards for its beers, including, in 2022

  • World Beer Awards – Milk Stout – Gold Award
  • World Beer Awards – Shapeless Malice – Silver Award
  • World Beer Awards – Best Bitter – Bronze Award
  • World Beer Awards – Riggwelter – Bronze Award
  • World Beer Awards – 54 Lager – Bronze Award

Press release from Prohibition PR.

For further information, please contact the Black Sheep press office team on 0113 4304 160 or email