LOYALTY MATTERS

We all know that cask ale drinkers are a loyal group! Some 7 in 10 know they are going to choose cask before they even arrive at your venue, according to CGA data. And while they are loyal to the category, CGA data also tells us that these very same drinkers like to try different beers when out – in fact, three in five cask drinkers will choose at least two different cask brands in one visit. That’s why Greene King and Belhaven’s seasonal range is so important and why you should consider stocking some seasonals alongside your permanent cask line-up.

There’s nothing quite like the festive season to get people off their sofas and out to the pub for a few drinks and maybe a bite to eat with friends, family and work colleagues. It’s a once-a-year unique opportunity and while the festive periods post-Covid have been a little more challenging than we are used to, it’s still a season full of opportunity.

One of the biggest opportunities of all lies in cask ale, a drink that is literally like no other. Beer has a proud place at the heart of the great British pub and when it comes to finding the freshest beer or ale, you can’t do better than cask ale. Crafted with traditional and artisanal techniques, cask ale needs to be served fresh to get the best of its uniquely complex and intricate flavour. It’s an experience that simply cannot be enjoyed at home – so cask offers a brilliant opportunity like no other to drive footfall to venues.

WILLING AUDIENCE

As many venue operators will know, cask ale drinkers are a loyal bunch, with 70% of them saying they know they’ll choose cask even before they leave the house to head to your venue. Yet while they are remarkably loyal to the category, they also like to try different beers when they’re out. In fact, 60% of cask drinkers will try at least two different cask products per visit.

That’s why it’s critical to stock some favourites – like those you’ll find on Greene King and Belhaven’s permanent range – as well as adding some variety and choice by stocking some cask ales from our seasonal Fresh Cask Releases range.

 

An absolute must-stock at this time of year is Rocking Rudolph, the best-selling festive cask ale for eight consecutive years. But there are a couple of other fantastic options to consider:

ABBOT RESERVE

Back by popular demand once again, Abbot Reserve has become a staple in the seasonal calendar and has done a remarkable job over the years of driving footfall, sales and profits for venues stocking it every December. At 6.5% ABV, it’s a full-flavoured dark copper premium ale that many drinkers consider to be a natural festive trade-up on the much-loved Abbot Ale. Utterly distinctive, smooth and mature, it’s bursting with fruit cake and toffee flavours – the perfect pint for a winter’s evening.

This December marks the first time that Abbot Reserve is available in the smaller 4.5-gallon Pins format, making it easier than ever to cash in on the popularity of the Abbot brand and offer your customers a true Christmas treat. In other words, you can trade up with minimum risk.

FIRESIDE WINTER ALE

Fireside is another winter classic, a full-bodied ruby winter ale with a mellow fruity finish. It features zingy grapefruit and lemon notes while black malt adds a nice level of refreshment. At 4.5% ABV, it’s an easy-to-drink ale and is another fantastic option to offer on those cold, dark winter nights. Available through November and December, this year Fireside features a new pump clip to help catch the customer’s eye.

PINS MAKE LIFE EASY

It’s no secret that meeting the needs of your cask drinkers for a variety of styles can sometimes be challenging. There is always a balance to be had between offering choice and keeping waste to a minimum. This is where Pins come in – and our seasonal ales are now available in Pins format!

Containing 4.5 gallons of ale, Pins are half the size of a traditional nine-gallon firkin which means you only need to sell 12 pints a day to maintain the quality that is vital for keeping your ale drinkers happy.

Pins can help you:

1. Broaden your range of ales

2. Add cask ales to your line-up

3. Offer cask during quieter times in the week

 

PERMANENT CASK RANGE

The Seasonal range is fantastic for adding choice and excitement, especially when offered alongside some of our classic favourites including:

Greene King IPA

Abbot Ale

Ruddles Best

Hardy & Hanson’s

Yardbird Pale Ale

Old Speckled Hen

Old Golden Hen

London Glory

Belhaven 80

Shilling

Deuchars IP

In conclusion, loyalty is a defining trait of cask ale enthusiasts. However, their penchant for exploring different beer varieties during their visits highlights the significance of offering diversity alongside your permanent cask selection. The festive season presents a unique opportunity to draw patrons out to enjoy the incomparable freshness and complexity of cask ale, an experience that can’t be replicated at home.