Stout has become so popular again that it is now the fastest growing beer variety in the UK, according to Tesco, which has seen sales grow at nearly twice the rate of lager.
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 stocks ten stouts as a result of the current trend.
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.
‘Great character and exceptional flavour’
“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 tastebuds — 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 ten 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. It recently collaborated with 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.”