Wells & Young's faith in cask future
15 June:-Wells & Young's underscored its commitment to the cask beer sector today by opening a new air-conditioned warehouse at its Bedford site that will keep beer at a cool temperature before it leaves for pubs. The brewery extension, known as the Beer Fridge, has cost the company £1/4 million and it has 1,500 acres to store cask beer.
The Beer Fridge was made necessary by the growing demand for W&Y's beers and is also needed as a result of additions to its portfolio in recent years. Young's Bitter, Special and seasonal beers moved to Bedford when the Wandsworth brewery closed in 2006. A year later, Courage Best Bitter and Directors were bought from Scottish & Newcastle: the Courage beers are owned by a separate company, Courage Brands, in which S&N has a small stake but brewing and marketing the beers is controlled by W&Y.
W&Y has invested heavily in its cask beers and has seen sales of Bombardier increase to such an extent that it's now one of the Top 5 premium beers in the country. Bombardier and Courage Best are level-pegging in sales, with the Courage brand in particular spearheading success in the free trade sector.
W&Y knows that beer quality is vital to win drinkers to cask beer, As well as the Beer Fridge, it has developed a new dispense font for Bombardier that enables drinkers to watch their glasses filled above bar level.
And beer temperature is crucial, as drinkers expect cool cask beer. As well as the Beer Fridge, W&Y's distribution company, KNDL, will also store beer in cooled warehouses to ensure cask beer arrives at pubs in tip-top condition.
Wells & Yojng's brews half-a-million barrels of beer a year, of which 36 per cent is accounted for by cask -- the company also brews Kirin and Red Stripe lagers. The cask beer proportion is rising and is the bedrock of the company's tied pubs and free trade business.