By Gillian McKenzie
WITH eight new microbreweries said to have opened north of the border in the last 12 months and a host of Scottish ‘real ale’ pubs making it into CAMRA’s newly published Good Beer Guide, the local beer boom shows no signs of slowing down.
The latest Cask Report, published last week, underlined the buoyancy of the sector, claiming that cask ale accounts for 16% of all on-trade beer sales and that 57% of pubs now stock cask beer, up from 53% in 2009.
And the positive outlook doesn’t end there.
Cask ale is said to have ‘outgrown’ its traditional base, appealing to more women and younger drinkers – and attracting new consumers, with one in five cask ale drinkers having tried it for the first time in the last four years.
Craft keg beers have no doubt played a part in appealing to new drinkers.
And, while there has been some keg v cask debate in forums and blogs, it seems both have a role to play.
As Pete Brown, author of The Cask Report, points out, recent interest in ‘craft beer’ as a whole is driving awareness and appreciation of cask.
Consumers are also said to be willing to pay more for what they consider to be a higher quality beer – whether from a cask, keg or bottle.
With no shortage of new and interesting brews being produced by Scotland’s creative microbrewers, it seems the future remains bright for craft beer.