Saturday, 25 October 2008

Small dying market?

I will always remember the lecturer at University who told me on repeated occasions that British cask beer is a small dying market. But to be honest I have struggled to believe this. Recent news has told of nothing but survival of small independent breweries in the current economic crisis. In reports from both CAMRA and Alistar Guilmore Small brewers have began thriving in the current credit crunch, these have included reports that brewers such as Allendale (Northumberland) and Mordue (Tyneside) have struggled to keep up with demand. Further more if this was not so at the Daleside brewery in North Yorkshire I would not be working in my current position. But the reasoning behind such survival has been put down to various theories. Take for example pricing, the price of a pint of standard mass produced lager at the pub is equivalent to that of a cask conditioned ale, considering that the drinkers have less money they thus want more for their money. Secondly in the current age real beer has gradually gained recognition, in America more obviously than over here. But the UK has seen more and more brewers springing up in various areas as well as more pubs selling at least one cask product or even just expanding the beer range alittle (believe me Iv seen it in my area). Beer festivals are frequent and conducted in all areas of the country and events such as Beers of the World live have aimed to bring the experience of craft beer enjoyment and understanding to a wider audience.
Coincidently this can be compared to the food market. Today health conscious customers want to know more about what they eat and are attracted to products that are not packed with artificial colours, flavours, starch adjuncts, trans fats etc, etc. One can easily argue that this can be applied to beer. Even more good news is that late this year will see more beer related programmes on TV thanks partly to Neil Morrissey and Co's new documentary about opening a brewpub in North Yorkshire. So finally after all these years of wine stealing the limelight of being the greatest respected fermented beverage (mostly due to social snobbery) Beer can finally gain back the respect it deserves.


I'll drink to that. Cheers!

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