|Tesco's beer buyer, Chiara Nesbitt|
One news report says that, "Surprisingly, demand for the drink is highest among younger consumers - a sea change in attitudes given that until recently, ale was considered the preserve of older male drinkers. As a result, stores are now stocking a huge variety of different ales, with Tesco alone increasing its offering from 20 types in 2006 to 350 brews in 2013."
However, don't get too excited about this boost in sales, because the most popular ales have been Old Speckled Hen, Newcastle Brown Ale, Theakstons Old Peculiar, Fullers London Pride, and Badger Fursty Ferret - all worthy, but certainly not the most interesting beers around. Tesco ale buyer Chiara Nesbitt said: "Sales of bottled ales have been growing steadily since the mid-noughties but this is by far the highest demand we have ever seen in Christmas week which would indicate that people will be drinking it with their roast turkey." Perhaps, although it's also worth noting that Tesco saw Wine by the Case sales rise by 29% in November.
It is nonetheless an interesting development, although I do wonder whether bottled ales are seen as a premium product worth splashing out on for Christmas; if so, how many of these drinkers will revert back to their slabs of cooking lager once the New Year holiday is over? I've no idea: wait and see, I suppose.
* I wrote 'real ale' in inverted commas because the figures include brewery conditioned ales that aren't actually real, being pasteurised and filtered.