In the Morning Advertiser 23rd July there is a piece by Nigel McNally, the MD of Wells and Young, about how the micro breweries are damaging the regional breweries. It doesn't actually say that, but it's clear from the article that this is where their problem lies. "We invest, the small boys don't" is the title. I don't seem to be able to find it on the Internet. I'm beginning to suspect that Andrew Pring knows just the type of article I'd like to link to and misses it off the web site deliberately.
Cask sales have grown 1.1% in the last quarter with underlying total beer sales dropping 6.3%. Of the cask market the micros are now taking 22% of this. I think that's huge and probably shows that we, the micro breweries, are benefiting from the growth. However, Mr Neilson seems to think that it's due to regionals investing in marketing and crazy things like the new fangled pumps that I reported on previously.
The regionals are also annoyed that SIBA did not back Cask Ale Week. Probably because SIBA knows that cask ale week was really not going to make a huge difference to the drinking habits of the people who choose it's members beers.
The regionals and CAMRA seem to think they are the story. Perhaps they might be part of it but the micros are becoming an ever bigger part to.
Well I'm sorry, but all the evidence I have is that cask brands that become more ubiquitous loose their appeal. Marketing investment tends to turn off the cask market, not the other way round. Worthingtons 1744 by Coors being a case in point. Nigel, tell you what, save your marketing budget and put some money into making interesting beer instead. That's what I do.
The pump clip in the picture is of a new beer of mine. I'm quite pleased with it. It's uses American hops, is dry hopped and uses Belgian yeast. I'm waiting for my beer geek friend to sober up from last night so he can taste it and tell me it's as good as I think it is.