Beer should be more like wine

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Consumer demand is leading to an unprecedented growth in the production of British organic beers, but few pubs sell them. CAMRA is celebrating the organic beer boom at the launch of the biggest generic promotion of British beer for half a century. It is urging pub owners to react to consumer demand by stocking more interesting cask and bottled beers instead of concentrating on bland processed lagers and ales.

Sales of real ales have been in decline since 1994 as big brewers have ploughed their millions into promoting global processed lager brands. CAMRA claims these strategies have made beer a poor relation to wine in the eyes of modern sophisticated consumers. CAMRA says that it's about time British beer shook off it's big brand commodity image and was treated with the respect it deserves.

There is an incredible variety of real cask and bottle-conditioned ales available in Britain - over 2,000 different brews, but the same old handful of lagers dominate pub bars. The range of tastes, aromas and even vintages makes the world of beer every bit as sophisticated as wine. CAMRA is urging drinkers to 'Ask if it's Cask' next time they visit the pub, in an attempt to get lager lovers, smoothflow drinkers and wine connoisseurs to discover the taste of real ale.

The growth in demand for organic beers is starting a trend by getting brewers to look at producing more distinctive and interesting beers, but it needs to go much further if Britain's traditional drink is to be taken seriously. The top five processed lager brands represent 63% of all the beer sold in pubs, whereas the top five wine brands have only 12% of the on-trade wine market. It is thoughtful marketing and easy access to a huge variety of bottled wines that has given wine a more sophisticated image, and pub owners need to learn from that if they are to continue to appeal to modern consumers. There are currently three accredited wholly organic breweries, with eight more regularly brewing an organic beer. The 'Ask if it's Cask' campaign features hundreds of advertising billboards throughout the country, supported by leaflets and posters in thousands of pubs. Fundraising from drinkers and real ale brewers has been ongoing since 1999.

All contents copyright 2004, Macclesfield and East Cheshire CAMRA Branch.
All rights reserved. Last Revised: April 25, 2004
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