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Cask ale in demand

Demand for cask ales from Surrey-based Hogs Back Brewery has almost returned to pre-Covid levels, with a number of new pub operators taking its established cask brands and latest additions.

Owners of the brewery estimate that they will be supplying 250 more on-trade outlets by the summer, compared to the same period last year.

Hogs Back’s flagship cask ale Tongham TEA is being listed in all Mitchells & Butlers’ cask pubs in London. The traditional, award-winning amber ale will also soon be available across the Star Pubs & Bars estate; it will also be listed in Greene King pubs for three months over the summer.

The brewery’s latest addition, Big Squeezy IPA (an aromatic 3.4% IPA, brewed with real lemons), is being listed by Stonegate, who are making it available until the end of May at most of their 3,000 cask ale pubs. It will also be on sale until July in around 50 Youngs’ pubs in Surrey and Greater London.

At the same time, Surrey Nirvana, Hogs Back’s 4.0% session IPA, brewed with Cascade hops from the brewer’s own hop garden, will be served in selected Youngs’ pubs and as a guest ale in 200 Fuller Smith & Turner’s pub.

Commenting on the increased demand for their award-winning ales, Hogs Back Brewery’s managing director, Rupert Thompson said: “We’re delighted with this renewed interest in our cask ales from pubs across the south east.

“Covid of course dented our cask business with pubs and it’s taken some time to bounce back, but we’re certainly seeing demand on the rise again and are feeling optimistic about our cask portfolio.

“We’re particularly pleased that operators are not just stocking our best-seller Tongham TEA, but are prepared to try other cask ales including our seasonals, like Big Squeezy. Serving established regional brands that drinkers will recognise, as well as new beers that refresh the offer on the bar, are both important in building a successful cask business.

Harvesting hops at Hogs Back’s hop garden

“We’re looking forward to growing our cask business with more pubs and bars across our heartland in London and the south east.”

Along with cask ales, Hogs Back brews a range of beers in kegs, bottles and cans. A number of its beers include Fuggles or Cascade hops grown in their hop garden next to the brewhouse, which travel just yards from ‘field to firkin’, ensuring that the hops are added to the brew at their freshest.

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