Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Booming Micros!

It has been widely reported that beer sales are falling in the UK with the Beer and Pub Association recently reporting a 9.7% year on year drop in sales. Now, according to a report by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) just released a couple of hours ago, beer from local breweries is bucking the trend. They say "In 2007 locally brewed beers saw an average volume growth of 10.7% year-on-year, despite being sold in just four in 10 pubs. The report claims that the introduction of local cask ales can increase total beer sales by as much as 20% when compared with pubs that don’t stock local beers.".

The report goes on to remark about limited access to the market being a bar to further progress and that SIBA also found that more than a quarter of pubs (29%) that do stock local brews price them at an average 6% to 7% premium over their usual cask ale.

Well surprise surprise, local beer is popular and increases sales. It can command a premium. Its availability is restricted and that while beer sales might be falling, good beer isn't. It is tired old lager and smooth that is heading downhill. So come on landlords and pub companies, especially those who stock only the boring big brands. Give your trade the boost it needs. Buy in some local beers, make us drinkers happy and watch the profits roll in.

I first used this headline in The Summer 06 edition of More Beer, my local CAMRA mag, when refering to our local micro scene. Good to see the national picture concurs


Stonch said...

I notice this report describes "local beer" as only being sold in 40% of pubs, yet another recent press release used the same figure for the number of pubs selling real ale (something I'd seriously dispute, putting the figure much higher if you're only counting proper pubs as opposed to bars/other licensed premises).

So these stats are all over the place, and can't be trusted.

Tandleman said...

Well I suppose it all depends what and where you are counting and what you are not. You have to give the people who brew local beer some credence I think though. Your assertion about what you saw and what you believe isn't evidence either.

What I think we can trust is that micros are doing well. I'd guess the increase in sales (the actual stats part)is probably reliable as is the assertion they'd sell more if they had access to some closed markets.We discussed this tonight at our CAMRA meeting and it does concur with what small brewers are telling me and my CAMRA colleagues. We have eight in our area, including notables such as Phoenix and Pictish and all seem to be at or near capacity. Or are lying.

Matt said...

"The report goes on to remark about limited access to the market being a bar to further progress"

For the small is beautiful brigade isn't that a good thing though? More green, stay small and greed won't take over etc?

Once your distribution takes off aren't the evils of big beer sure to follow?

I like the idea of local beers so am hope this is truly the case (although I think some big brewers care about beer and can brew some fine beer).

Tandleman said...

I agree Matt. I think most micros would be happy if they could get in the pub next door and within a small radius. Often they can't.

Paul said...

With proposed mergers by some big pubcos it could well restrict outlet opportunities even more.
I too am confused by recent figures being banded about as to how many pubs stock real ale & what constitutes a pub.
Talking of 'local beer' we've got more 'local beer' than you can shake a stick at in Bury St Edmunds! :-)