ba ba booie
2004-08-04 16:29:46 UTC
By Jeremy Lovell
LONDON (Reuters) - Traditional beer drinkers are changing in substance,
style and shape.
=A0Disappearing fast are the hairy, heavy-bellied beer-swillers of
yesteryear, their place being taken by young urban professional men and
women more normally associated with wine and working out.
One-third of the 45,000 real ale enthusiasts expected to attend this
year's annual Great British Beer Festival at London's Olympia run by the
beer purists Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) are likely to be women.
"CAMRA is often seen as sandals, beer-bellies and beards. But that is
not true today," the organization's chief executive Mike Benner told
Reuters on the opening night. "The truth has changed. The image,
unfortunately, has not."
That does not mean they will hold back. Over the five days of the event,
people will sink some 200,000 pints of beer.
And it is not just in Britain, that sees itself as the guardian of
traditional brewing, that real ales are making a comeback against
Even in the United States, where a handful of giant brewers like
Anheuser-Busch have dominated the beer market for decades, the taste for
distinctive real ales is rising.
"Demand for cask-conditioned beer is small but it is growing," Jonathan
Tuttle, U.S. representative of the Bieres Sans Frontieres (BSF)
organization told Reuters.
"I guess the demand is mainly from young professionals and it is the
micro brewers that are driving the change," he added.
BSF groups small brewers from the United States, Africa, Asia and
Australia as they move from one beer festival to another touting their
wares and sampling the competition.
Tuttle said he too had noticed a distinct slimming down of the classic
beer drinkers' profile -- including his own -- and attributed the change
in part to maturity and in part to a greater health consciousness among
consumers of all ages.
Across Europe too the demand for beers with a traditional taste is
growing even as the overall market for beer stagnates.
The European Beer Consumers Union (EBCU) boasts members in Britain, the
Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland,
Poland, Austria and Italy, and anticipates that the Czech Republic and
Latvia will also soon sign up.
"Our membership is growing -- mainly among people in their early 20s,"
EBCU representative Richard Larkin said. "But these are not binge
drinkers. These are people who know what they want -- and that is good
food and drink."
I love a good cold beer.
I still love Samuel Adams beer.
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