“If ever there were a time for breweries and pubs to promote cask beer, it is now,” says industry expert Paul Nunny. “And if ever there were a timely opportunity, it is Cask Ale Week, which starts 23rd September.
“Everyone in the sector is warmly invited to get involved. You can use it to boost sales of your beer and at the same time, you’ll be supporting the overall effort to promote cask beer – and pub going.
“Together we can make an impact that acting in silos it’s impossible to make.”
Attracting people back through the doors of the pub this Autumn is of paramount importance to everyone in the brewing and on trade industries. Cask Ale Week unites the trade in the effort to win back the many sales lost to take home and food and drink delivery services during the lockdowns.
It is not too late to join in.
Ideas for pubs include:-
- increase your range of cask beers for the week – and add some fun elements to make it into a festival / a celebration of real ale
- do deals on real ales (eg introduce a friend: buy one, get a half free)
- create special offers for CAMRA members – or, at the other end of the spectrum, special offers
for those who have never tried cask ale
- include cask questions in your usual quiz or download the Cask Ale Week quiz: Pub Quiz – Cask Ale Week
- offer free cask beer tasters
- organise pictures of the staff all sampling the cask beers on offer – and use to promote the offer on social media
- get local media involved – if you need ideas for angles, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Ideas for breweries and pub companies include:-
- organise ale trails independently or with the help of Cask Marque and the CaskFinder app
- run tasting sessions with pub customers
- organise a press conference on the importance of pubs to the community and why cask beer is so important to the local economy
- offer spokespeople to local radio stations to talk about the above
- set up photos of team members with cask ales and use on social media
- Create the regional launch of Cask Ale Week. “It’s there for the taking. Why not just own it in your area?” asks Nunny. “Media outlets will be much more interested in your activity if they know it’s part of a national week, and part of a countrywide campaign to stand up for cask – the drink that is unique to the pub.”
There is a strong commercial incentive for pubcos and pubs to promote cask ale. CGA says that 47% of cask drinkers drink out at least weekly, compared to 30% on average, and that they spend 17% more on eating and drinking out than the average consumer1.
Given that in 2019 the off trade beer market already stood at 4,451 million pints2, it is clear that even a relatively modest conversion of home drinkers to pub-goers could help keep pubs open and breweries brewing. Cask Ale Week is certainly an opportunity for outlets that stopped stocking cask because of the pandemic to reinstate it.
“Cask Ale Week is an ideal time to welcome those hand pumps back on the bar and to make the venue back into a real pub with real beer again,” says Nunny. “The key thing is, if you are going to bring it back, do it in style, promote it effectively and serve it in perfectly. ”
In 2019, around 10,000 different cask beers were produced in Britain. The range and quality was better than ever for licensees and for drinkers. “This magnificent choice in terms of styles, flavours, aromas, colours and strengths can be restored if the industry pulls together.
“Use our campaign #standupforcask and Cask Ale Week as part of your efforts to actively drive sales and retain choice in the sector.
“For pubs to offer a decent range of cask ales, they need to present the beer beautifully and give bar staff the knowledge and skills to upsell it. They also need to provide pub goers (including those sitting at tables away from the view of the bar) with information that will inform them of the choice and encourage them to try the beers.
“Again, Cask Ale Week provides the ideal focus for providing all that information and training,” says Paul Nunny. “Licensees can easily come up with activities and promotions that are cask-centric to bring awareness to the value that fresh beer brings to our breweries, pubs, and culture.
Cask Ale Week is open to all to use. The only requirement is that any cask beer crossing the bar into the hands of customers is served in excellent condition. “Use our banner, exploit the opportunities, join forces – but for goodness’ sake, make every pint a great one,” concludes Paul.
To download the Cask Ale Week and #standupfor cask logos and social assets, go to https://caskaleweek.co.uk/download-logos/ . To add your events or promotions to the Cask Ale Week website, go to https://caskaleweek.co.uk/get-involved/
147% of cask consumers drink out at least weekly, compared to 30% on average
They spend 17% more on eating and drinking out than the average consumer
Source: CGA Brand Track, February 2021
2The off trade 4,451,500,000 pints of beer in 2019
Source: BBPA MAT Dec 2019
Press release from Cask Ale Week