Stout: the fastest growing beer style in the UK

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/alpaksoy
Pic:getty/alpaksoy

Related tags: stout, Guinness, Tesco, Beer

Stout is now the fastest growing beer variety in the UK, spurred on by the craft beer boom, according to supermarket giant Tesco.

It has seen demand for stout grow 13%, while brewers are increasingly adding a stout to their portfolio as consumers look beyond IPAs to other styles.

And creativity in the category is also spurring stout: with flavourings such as vanilla, butterscotch, blueberries, cherry, chilli or chocolate.

Guinness - and beyond

Stout is made using roasted malt or barley, hops, water and yeast. It originated in the early 18th century as a porter – a blend of brown ale, pale ale and ‘well matured ale’.

Stout got its name because it was popular with London street market workers. The strongest variety was known as stout porter, which was eventually shortened to just stout.

In 1759 Dublin brewer Arthur Guinness created his own version, and Guinness has been a stalwart in the market ever since, dominating the market during the 19th​ and 20th​ century.

However, the rise of lager has been a challenger to the popularity of stout, with the strong taste and black colour of the latter making it less approachable for many consumers.

Stout stalwart: Guinness

The Diageo-owned brand saw net sales rise 8% in the UK in the year ending June 30, 2018: driven by Guinness Draught & Hop House 13 Lager.

In Ireland the brand grew 2%.

But now Tesco sees stout growing in popularity: over the last year, demand in its stores has grown 13% - nearly twice the growth of lager.

Figures from Kantar Worldpanel, too, suggest its an attractive category to play in: seeing 11.6% value growth for the stout category, compared to 5.1% for lager and 7.7% for ale (year ending February 25, 2018).

'British beer tastes are wider than they have every been'

Tesco says it’s the popularity of craft beer, alongside more adventurous consumers, that is bringing about a stout boom. It now stocks 10 different stouts with traditional, craft and local lines – something that Tesco stout buyer Hugo Murray says would have been ‘unthinkable’ even only five years ago.

“Stout has become popular again on the back of the growing craft beer boom which has brought about a great appreciation of all the wonderful beers brewed across the British Isles," ​said Murray. 

“British beer tastes are now wider than they have ever been and as a result brewers are taking notice of the craft beer trend and are starting to add a stout to their beer portfolio.

“In the last five or so years a younger audience of drinkers has emerged who are looking for beers with great character and exceptional flavour to challenge the taste buds – perhaps to have at the dinner table as an accompaniment to food much the same as wine.”

Stout brands on Tesco shelves

  • Vocation Brewery & Yeastie Boy’s – Breakfast Club Stout
  • Fourpure – Oatmeal Stout
  • Murphy’s
  • Crabbie’s Stout
  • Penny Come Quick Stout
  • Mackeson
  • Guinness
  • St Austell – Mena Dhu
  • Black Sheep – Milk Stout
  • Sweetheart Stout

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