Cask ale will continue to be an integral part of the offer on the bars of The Craft Beer Co., according to its founder Martin Hayes, who says he is disappointed by those brewers ceasing production of cask and suggests too many decisions in the industry are purely money motivated.
“It saddens me that some pubs have no cask and that brewers are stopping making it. It bothers me a lot. It’s just about the money, with people willing to pay more for keg. But it’s our heritage and the purest form of craft beer. It’s sad how many great breweries are stopping brewing cask ale,” he says.
Whereas craft beer has been an antidote to the large multinational brewers’ output, Hayes suggests that smaller brewers “buying into the idea that craft beer is keg beer is nonsense and simply moves them into the industrial brewers’ area of the market”.
He also points to the situation where customers seem historically wedded to only paying a certain limited amount of money for cask, while willingly paying large premiums for keg, and as a result of this he accuses some brewers of only producing keg because of these greater margins available.
Hayes also believes some craft beer bars are contributing to the current demise-of-cask scenario by only paying low sums for their beer – especially cask. For these specific venues he says they ultimately end up with “lots of cheap beer” on their bars. Serious question marks hang over the quality of the offer.
In contrast, he says: “The Craft Beer Co. has never bought on price. I’m maybe not a typical operator but I never have just bought on price. We only buy on quality. But if I found other people were being charged less then that would be unacceptable.”
“Brewing beer is about love and should not just be about price. I understand why it is happening in the industry but it’s disappointing,” he says, pointing to the fact that at two of his outlets – in Pimlico and Clerkenwell – cask accounts for a healthy 60% of beer sales.
Glynn Davis, editor of Beer Insider