CAMRA unveils ‘Cyclops’

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has launched a way of letting consumers know what beers will taste like before they sample.

Here’s the press release:

Taking lessons from the UK wine industry, CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, and 14 real ale breweries will today launch a new initiative called ‘Cyclops’ at the Great British Beer Festival. ‘Cyclops’ aims to demystify real ale after research showed that 1 in 3 people would try more real ale if its characteristics were made easier to understand in pubs.

Declining beer sales in the UK have brought beer consumers and brewers together to revitalise the market for real ale, Britain’s national pub drink. Following the success of the wine industry to make wine more accessible to all consumers through simple tasting notes Cyclops will use common language to explain what different real ales should look, smell and taste like. Sweetness and bitterness are the two dominant taste qualities of real ale and Cyclops using a scale of 1 to 5 for each enables drinkers to work out how sweet and bitter they like their beers.

The new scheme was the brainchild of David Bremner, Head of Marketing at Everards Brewery in Leicester. Everards pilot scheme aimed to promote its beers to new consumers who may have never tried real ale before or who had only tried a few pints in the past. By using attractive imagery and simplified language, real ales are described on promotional material such as beer mats, posters, tasting cards and pump-clip crowners to inform consumers of what they are buying. This information will also be placed on the back on beer handpulls to keep pub staff informed of what the real ale is like.

Tony Jerome, CAMRA’s Senior Marketing Manager said, “Real ale is an incredibly complex drink with an enormous range of styles and tastes. Cyclops will demystify real ale so drinkers will know what a beer will look, smell and taste like before they part with their cash at the bar.”

Jerome continued, “A great deal of skill and care goes into the brewing of real ale and there are many thousands of dedicated connisseurs and enthusiasts which has led to a whole new and fascinating language behind beer tasting. Research shows, however, that drinkers who are less familiar with real ale want to know in easy to understand terms what the beer tastes like. I am convinced that Cyclops will revitalise the real ale market by enticing younger drinkers, both male and female to try our national drink. They will quickly learn to appreciate its complex flavours and we are confident that they will soon become enthusiasts.”

The new scheme is called ‘Cyclops’ due to the one eye, nose and mouth imagery used on the promotional material. 14 real ale breweries, from across Britain, have already signed up to the campaign and will be using it on their beers in pubs.

The 14 breweries are:

Everards (Leicestershire), Wolverhampton & Dudley Brands (National), Woodforde’s (Norfolk), Camerons (County Durham), Hook Norton (Oxfordshire), Fuller’s (London), Refresh UK (Oxfordshire), Robinson’s (Cheshire), Hall & Woodhouse (Dorset), Elgoods (Cambridgeshire), Wadworth (Wiltshire), Titanic (Stoke on Trent), Charles Wells (Bedfordshire), and Caledonian (Edinburgh).

That’s a good start, but as Americans who have been spoiled by West Coast hop-infused beers know there’s more to hops that bitterness. And there’s certainly more to malt than sweetness.

2 Replies to “CAMRA unveils ‘Cyclops’”

  1. I have to agree. While its a good start, to break down the description of the beer into only two basic categories (bitter and sweet) is short changing the one thing they are trying to push. While the wine industry has worked on creating simple tasting notes, they don’t limit themselves to two attributes. I would say they are on the right path, they shouldn’t limit themselves to those two when as they say real beer is complex.

  2. CAMRA unveils ‘Cyclops yes its good start about gluten free beers. i also read camra 2006 festival which is good.

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