Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) is proud to announce the launch of Fresh Ale, a pioneering initiative aimed at reinvigorating the cherished tradition of Britain’s beer and pub culture. 

Fresh Ale marries an exquisite flavour and body similar to cask ale, but with a shelf-life of up to 14 days. For publicans struggling to stock a range of cask ales due to low throughput, Fresh Ale provides an opportunity to offer a wider choice of great-tasting, high quality ales that will help entice drinkers back to the category. 

Cask ale remains a hallmark of British pub culture, with over a third of drinkers1 believing it’s what makes a pub truly special. Yet the ale category, and cask, faces challenges. As footfall in the On Trade has fallen, combined with the practical issues posed by cask ale’s brief three-day shelf life, only 24% of pubs2 have enough regular throughput to turnover more than one ale on their bar. Over the past four years, more than 7,000 hand pulls have been removed from the On Trade3, and since the COVID-19 pandemic almost 6,000 cask outlets have closed altogether. 

CMBC’s Fresh Ale addresses these challenges head-on, offering a viable solution for pubs to diversify their ale offerings, adding more quality ales to their bar to help reignite drinkers’ passion for ale and to bring new fans to the category. Engineered for consistency and extended freshness, Fresh Ale provides exciting new opportunities for pubs to serve ale, all while preserving the beloved hand pull ritual that delivers the traditional theatre of serve that ale is famed for. 

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

This innovation not only reduces waste and enhances profitability but also simplifies storage and upkeep, bypassing the need for specialised cleaning and conditioning. Initial trials in pubs across the UK4 have demonstrated promising outcomes, with customers agreeing that cask ale and Fresh Ale both shared the great taste of traditional ale.

John Clements, Vice President of Marketing at CMBC, commented, “Fresh Ale is a critical element of our plan to reinvigorate the On Trade ale category, supplementing, not supplanting, traditional cask ale. Fresh Ale offers pubs who have stopped selling cask the opportunity to reintroduce a traditional ale offering to drinkers. Our primary aim is to safeguard the future of ale and the pub culture it embodies.” 

Duncan Barber, publican at The Roebuck in Market Harborough, who participated in the Fresh Ale trial, shared, “Fresh Ale has been transformative for our pub. Previously, we struggled to turnover more than three ales at a time. And if we did have four, five or six on, we were throwing a lot away due to the short shelf-life on it. Fresh Ale has allowed us to offer a broader selection of ales without the worry of wastage due to spoilage, significantly impacting our operations and customer satisfaction – it’s been a game changer for the pub.” 

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said, “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.”

Beginning this month, CMBC will introduce Fresh Ale versions of its bestsellers: Wainwright Gold, Wainwright Amber, and Hobgoblin IPA. Additionally, 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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