Making beer cool again: Britain’s biggest beer festival draws real ale fans to Kensington

With beer sales falling so far in 2018, last week’s The Great British Beer Festival set about reversing the negative trend.

Showcasing hundreds of real ales and cask beers under the Olympia London roof, the five-day festival, organised by the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), saw an estimated 50,000 attendees.

With beer sales down in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, according to the British Beer and Pub Association, the 41st annual event championed real ale and cask beer in a difficult climate.

Paul Bermon from Essex, who works in professional services, said: “It’s a good vibe. I like real ale because it’s purer. People like local so events like this help cask beer grow.”

He said that he had three adult sons who only drink larger or spirits and would never order an ale.

He added: “I think cask brands just need to be savvy and have the right products then they’ll be okay.”

Londoner Shaun Oliver, who works in the drinks industry, shared the same sentiment.

He said: “I think the problem in the industry is that the cask breweries are not getting out there enough, whereas craft beer is seen as cool.

“Cask breweries need to do what their craft competitors do. They also need to serve the beers colder.”

Mr Oliver said that he enjoyed attending the event because there was a vast choice of beers available from across the country.

He said: “Freshness and flavour is what I’m looking for in a beer, so cask is my preference. It’s real.”

He added: “I like Oliver’s Island by Fuller’s. I drink it on a regular basis. It’s got a nice golden, hoppy taste and it’s a light ale.”

CAMRA member Bryl Aston from the West Midlands said: “My husband and I have been coming for 16 years. We just love real ale, it’s so special.”

CAMRA is an independent, voluntary organisation which campaigns for real ale, cider and perry as well as protecting and promoting community pubs and clubs and fighting for consumer rights.

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