Thriving due to the heady combination of record-breakingly good weather and England's surge to the World Cup semi-finals, Lancaster Brewery have revealed that they have had to increase production to meet demand this summer.
Despite the warmer climes of the summer months usually leading many to choose colder beverages in beer gardens across the country, Lancaster Brewery's much-loved ales have still proved mightily popular with revellers enjoying the cloudless days coinciding happily with Gareth Southgate's universally-loved England side reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia.
Marrying the feel-good success of the country's football team with the still-growing popularity boom of micropubs serving real ales has seen the popularity of the brewery's famous products peak, with Operations Manager, Mark Westall, revealing that they have had to increase beer production to meet demand for their ales during the tournament.
"Normally, with the rising temperature, cask ale sales tend to drop as people transfer to lager and cider for the nice weather," explained Mark. "This year, we haven't seen a drop - if anything we're selling more beer - and with the production of some lagers being limited due to the C02 shortage, we've seen an increase in sales and production."
The fears of those who are fans of the odd carbonated tipple were stoked earlier this year when it was reported that the UK's lager production was struggling with a shortage of CO2 gas in what Trade journal Gas World has called the "worst supply situation to hit the European carbon dioxide business in decades," leading to short supply in some cases and potentially nudging some to plump for an ale instead.
"Blonde is out strongest blend; it's out flagship ale, and we've seen an increase in its sales and not just in cask sales, but in bottles as well," said Mark. "It's across the board. Prolonged periods of nice weather usually sees pubs without beer gardens drop off [in terms of sales], but with the World Cup on and the rise of micro-pubs which only sell cask ales and many of which have put televisions in, people are going to watch the football and drink real ale.
"It's a fantastic upsurge for us, and it's only going to get better; there's a real growth of Lancaster real ales bars," he added. "They're all busy; even when they can sit outside, people are still enjoying real ales."
Reflecting the popularity of the locally-produced ale, the England squad for the World Cup had a notably Northern feel to it, with 15 members of the 23-man squad all hailing from less than 100 miles away from the brewery. Additionally, seven of the squad were born within 50 miles of the brewery, with Phil Jones from Preston the closest at just 19 miles away.
"It's a matter of local pride," said Mark of the Northern make-up of the squad. "We produced a beer called 'On Target', because they really were 'on target' this year. People who wouldn't normally watch the World Cup all tuned in."