CMBC launches cask-style beer that stays fresh for 14 days

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

New launch: Fresh Ale from CMBC
New launch: Fresh Ale from CMBC

Related tags CMBC Cask ale Keg Cellar management Beer Brewing

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) has launched ‘Fresh Ale’ – a product that allows licensees to serve cask-style beer in keg format.

CMBC vice-president of marketing John Clements explained the new beer, which will be available in versions of best-sellers Wainwright Gold, Wainwright Amber and Hobgoblin IPA from this month (March), came about because the UK pub trade has lost about 7,000 hand-pulls since the pandemic.

He added 6,000 stockists of cask ale had also disappeared so the category needed reinvigoration.

Clements explained: “We have brought Fresh Ale for those pubs that could no longer keep a cask ale on the bar because of either loss of footfall or rate of sale.

“There’s nothing like going to a pub and having a pint of British ale. It’s what makes British pubs so special. We looked at lots of different solutions and came up with this solution.

“It’s for those stockists that can’t do cask. If you can keep doing cask then don’t stop doing it – it’s the best manifestation of ale you can get in a pub.”

Not a cask beer

He continued: “We looked at how we could take the issue of shelf life away and how we could do the secondary fermentation in the brewery so it becomes brewery-conditioned ale. A pub can get this beer after we have filtered the yeast out yet it remains unpasteurised so consumers get the same kind of experience as cask but, for the retailer, it lasts 14 days rather than three.

“By no means are we claiming this to be cask beer or that it is to replace cask because we’re one of Britain’s biggest cask brewers.”

He added the term ‘cask’ is not being used when it comes to the marketing of Fresh Ale but did say the idea is to create the same look and mouthfeel.

Meanwhile, along with a longer shelf life than cask ale, it also preserves the hand-pull ritual that delivers a theatre of serve so a bartender would draw a pint on a hand-pull.

Clements said: “There’s a light gas pressure that’s put onto the keg and then the beer engine pulls it through [when the hand-pull is used].

The way Fresh Ale is made is, firstly, it is brewed using the same method as traditional cask ale. After primary fermentation, it then undergoes a controlled second fermentation for conditioning within the brewery. Following this, Fresh Ale is kegged in 30-litre units to maintain its distinctive mouthfeel and flavour profile for up to 14 days once broached.

Similar costs to cask

CMBC added this innovation not only reduces waste and enhances profitability but also simplifies storage and upkeep, bypassing the need for specialised cleaning and conditioning.

On pricing to pubs, Clements said it is slightly above current cask ales costs but it works out to be very similar after allowance for sediment and usual wastage in casks.

Meanwhile, British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin added: “Britain’s brewers are committed to innovation and continuing to provide their customers with the best beer in the world.

“Cask ale is an iconic part of British culture and CMBC’s Fresh Ale is a great example of the fusion of tradition and transformation that our brewers are passionate about creating.”

CMBC is launching Carlsberg ID, a new platform to assist on-trade customers in selecting the ideal dispensing solutions for them, including Fresh Ale and other innovative systems developed by CMBC – Draughtmaster, CQDS and CQDS Plus – under one banner.

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