Once again on Cloudwater and cask
The debate which followed the Cloudwater blog on where they have been and where they are going beer wise has provoked a fascinating debate.
The original post is here: http://cloudwaterbrew.co/blog/looking-back-whilst-pushing-forward
I have re-tweeted links to at least some of the other contributions. Matthew Curtis (Total Ales) tweeted that his post had had thousands of hits and there is clearly interest, perhaps particularly in Cloudwater’s decision to stop producing cask beer (though hopefully not beards as Andy Parker has suggested).
My original comments are here: https://kmflett.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/cloudwater-cask-the-future-of-beer/
Matt Curtis argues that cask beer is underpriced (I think that is broadly true) but that in any case the beer drinking market is moving towards keg. I’m less certain on that. It is in some areas, but not others and price is a key issue there (for drinkers and producers). There is combined and uneven development in beer but where that will lead remains as yet unclear I’d suggest.
A number of comments have suggested that CAMRA is somehow to blame for price undercutting and so on. Tandleman who runs a forensic eye over Cloudwater’s business model (they may disagree with his perspective of course) notes that actually it is brewers that undercut not CAMRA and the result is often poor quality beer. The consumer doesn’t win there. CAMRA needs to do more on this issue and has acknowledged that it does.
I think there is a general recognition that Cloudwater have a business to run that needs to be in profit but that doesn’t mean that cask is somehow doomed. A more relevant point (made I think by John West) is that there may be a trend for some of the more interesting and innovative new brewers to move away from cask. That would be a pity because it would make cask ranges less interesting than they could be and most readers of this will have been in pubs where the cask range is very dull indeed. The future for the cask would over time be less secure if it was increasingly confined largely to the more bland and conservative end of the market
An interesting start indeed to the beer year but the best way to really get it going as the temperance campaigners of Dry January(see Alcohol Concern) are again active is to get out and sample some beer in a pub, bar or tap. In moderate amounts.