June 8, 2006 - Seven of Britain's largest regional brewers have formed a think-tank with hopes of increasing lagging cask beer sales.
Calling itself "Why Handpull?" the group has suggested initial changes that will stir controversy. First, they propose renaming real ale as handpulled beer - a name that they suggest means more to the general drinker than the terms ale or cask.
The group also maintains that unless a pub specializes in cask ale pub the best way to improve the quality of what's on cask is to reduce the number of brands, then slowly build them up as cask handling skills improves.
Adnams, Caledonian, Charles Wells, Everards, Fullers, Greene King and Wolverhampton & Dudley began working together in December 2004. The seven brewers have already funded initial research and are now looking to work with consumers and beer industry groups to recommend more ways of improving handpulled beer sales.
Alistair Darby, managing director of WDB Brands said the new group was there to represent the interests of all drinkers of handpulled beer. "We think there is a lot of rubbish spoken about handpulled beer by people who have no consumer insight," he said. "It is governed too much by anecdote rather than science and we want to debunk a lot of the mythology."
John Roberts, beer and brands director at Fuller's, said: "This think tank is a place where we can create ideas and put some momentum behind the ones that we think will work in the industry."