Monday 7 August 2023

The Great British Beer Festival 2023

What a happy coincidence that my professional body hosted a meeting at the start of the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) trade day. Seeing as I was in the area I of course headed to it for some more networking. But first the CPD:

Pete Brown was giving a talk on the Cask Fresh Campaign, a short marketing pilot aimed at promoting cask beer. 

I was rather disturbed to hear that some pub companies are actively opposed to cask beer because they make more money from lager. There have long been people saying that cask beer should be more expensive but surely the fact that cask beer is cheaper than keg is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy? 

Then we were told that the brewing industry talks cask beer down more than consumers, often repeating old man stereotypes which most of the public don't hold, they're just ignorant about cask. I found this a very interesting point as this crap is something I've heard in the industry, and my non-beery friend's don't say it when I talk about beer. Their eyes do tend to glaze over though, but that's probably just because they're concentrating so hard on what I'm saying.

The usual terms used to describe cask beer, like secondary fermentation and containing yeast weren't used and instead freshness was chosen as it's a popular term with young consumers. It didn't have the impact that was hoped though as it's too close to refreshing which is it seems lager territory. 

Pubs with more engaged staff did better but the small size of the study meant that the results were inconclusive. It was pointed out that cask beers are now the only beers poured below the bar, something I'd not thought about before. And a new marketing slogan was suggested:

Take a fresh look at cask

My background is not in marketing so I take a more spiritual approach and would suggest something along the lines of:

HEATHENS! Do you want to spend eternity in the fiery pit or in paradise? Stop drinking keg beer and drink cask. 

That would surely get the ungodly thinking about the consequences of their actions. 

The networking went well, even if the next morning didn't. I saw Ross from Surrey Hills Brewery right at the start and got as close as I'm ever likely to to the cup the Champion Beer of Britain (CBoB) winners get:

I caught up with everyone I'd hoped to and more, and even briefly spotted an unpopular figure responsible for legislation favouring the rich:

Totally missed Rishi Sunak though. 

And though the next day was a bit of a struggle it was brightened by the return of twerps whinging on about the GBBF on twitter, this time because Abbot Ale got overall second place in the CBoB. CAMRA and the blind tasting panel are in the pay of Greene King it seems. Which I suppose makes a change from Wetherspoons. To me the twerps are just showing their ignorance. The wonder of cask beer means that at times it can elevate beers to highs you would never have expected. If people spent less time suckling at the devil's drainpipe and more time drinking beer served as god intended they would realise this. 

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