Ales and Stouts - UK - May 2010
This report covers the UK market for ales and stouts, in both the on- and off-trade.
- The steady decline of the ales/stout market has worsened over the past decade. In 1998, these darker beers accounted for 40% of all beer volume sales in the UK, but just ten years later this had slipped to 25%.
- Key to the demise of ales & stouts has been the rise in popularity of lager. Younger men have been attracted to being served a cold and refreshing drink, rather than the more complex taste of ales/stout.
- Brewers have failed to change a common misconception that ale is at its best when served cool rather than at room temperature, albeit not cold which would mean it losing much of its distinctive flavour.
- A new generation of younger beer drinkers are starting to appreciate colder ale, which is helping propel sales of cask ale. This type of ale has more of a unique flavour than standardised brands.
- Both the ale and stout markets have suffered from an over-reliance on pub revenues which are also experiencing decline: a record number of pubs went out of business in 2009.
- The success of cask ale has been instrumental in slowing the decline of ale. Between 2005 and 2008, on-trade volume sales of ale fell by 23%. But in 2009 ale out-performed lager, slowing its decline to a more respectable 4.8%.
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