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Stout back in vogue as sales of the black stuff soar on back of craft beer boom

Stout has become so popular again that it is now the fastest growing beer variety in the UK.


In the last year demand for the strong-tasting black coloured beer has grown by 13 per cent at Tesco – nearly twice the growth of its next rival, lager, as a result of the craft beer boom.

Irish stout, including Guinness, dominated the beer market for well over a century, but towards the end of the 20th century stout saw a decline in popularity because of the arrival of lager.

But small UK craft brewers are now adding the beer to their range and Tesco now stocks 10 different stouts as a result of the current trend.

Last week law firm RPC announced that the number of new trademarks for beer brands rose by 20 per cent in 2017 due to the craft beer boom – up from 1,983 the previous year to 2,372 last year. 

Tesco stout buyer Hugo Murray said:

“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.

“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.

“As a direct result of this boom we now stock a mix of 10 different stouts  – including traditional, craft and locally brewed lines - something which would have been unthinkable even just five years ago.”

One brewer who has tapped into the growing demand for stout is Vocation, based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. They recently collaborated with another brewer, Yeastie Boys, to produce a Blueberry and Waffle flavoured stout called Breakfast Club which is stocked by Tesco.

Vocation Managing Director Richard Stenson said:

For a long time the craft beer market has been all about IPA but we’re beginning to see an interest in other styles that have previously been sidelined - none more so than stout.

“With the addition of flavourings like vanilla, butterscotch, blueberries, cherry, chocolate or chilli, stout has got very interesting and is getting the attention of consumers who previously thought it wasn’t for them.”

Tesco’s stouts are as follows:

  • 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


A brief history of stout

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.

The drink was exported to Ireland and inspired a Dublin brewer, Arthur Guinness, to  create his own version in 1759.

During World War One restrictions on making roasted malts were enforced in Britain. Guinness increased their market share and the British stout industry never recovered with just Mackeson as the UK’s main brewer.

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