Following the interview with The Morning Advertiser recently we felt it was important to clarify our stance on cask beer. The interview was totally off the cuff and offered a frank insight into our current business situation. Inevitably when the resulting article was published there was much we would have liked to have said to give the piece more context. So here it is.
First and foremost we love cask beer. You only have to look as far as our social media feed to see that we have extolled the beauty of cask beer on more than one occasion. Whenever we have guests in from overseas, after drinking at our tap room we head up to Whitelocks to drink some of the regions finest cask libations.
We have not stopped producing cask beer. We just don't do very much of it. The decision to focus on other packaging formats is multi tiered.
- We're not set up to produce cask beer. We have no cask washing equipment, we have no casks of our own.
- The vast majority of our beer lends itself better to keg. We believe heavily hopped beer is best showcased with the sharper carbonation that kegged beer provides.
- I would take a pint of Landlord 9 times out of 10 vs any of our beers in cask. I simply don't feel cask beer is our strong point. I'd rather leave it to the masters.
- logistically it's a massive headache for us.
- We're working at capacity. It makes no sense for us to package in a format that we're not really set up for, has a lower market value than other packaged formats and our beer isn’t particularly suited to.
- We tried to produce a beer designed specifically for cask. True North. We never felt we quite nailed it.
As a brewery we're deeply passionate about making some of the best beer we possibly can. The aim is to hopefully produce some of the best interpretations of styles in the world. There are breweries out there that are deeply passionate about brewing cask beer specifically and have QC and R&D practices that are built around this format. I'd rather drink cask beer from them.
The cask market in the U.K. is suffering from an unrealistic market price. There are a number of reasons for this.
- The small brewers duty relief that can be a huge help to a startup brewery isn't always used responsibly and there are breweries that use this to leverage an artificially and unrealistically low price for cask beer. Larger breweries who choose to compete on price but dont have the same duty break then have to try and cut costs and user cheaper or fewer ingredients.
- Not enough has been done to protect and nurture cask beer by industry bodies. Whilst CAMRA's attention has been on what to do with the rise of keg beer, issues with low pricing and quality have seemingly been left unattended.
If you would like to try our beer in cask, we've arranged a takeover at Whitelocks & Turks Head. We’re finalising the details but will have 4 cask lines in Whitelocks and 4 keg lines in Turks Head, so you can decide for yourself the format the beers are best suited to. Keep an eye on our social media feed for details we hope to pull this together in the next couple of weeks.
If you would like to buy our beer in cask, talk to us about it. If you're happy to pay the price, are passionate about cellar management we're happy to do it.
Some of our favourite cask beer in the region comes from Hawkshead, Timothy Taylors, Roosters, Magic Rock, Abbeydale, Kirkstall, Saltaire and Ilkley. Whether you're a brewer or a publican we'd recommend seeking it out and not complaining about the price!
Viva le cask.