EARLS COURT welcomes real ale drinkers through its doors today with the news that many of them are… women.

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Not good news for those clichés we love of large-gutted men with foam stuck on their beards: new research published on the opening day of the Great British Beer Festival reveals that one in three women now drink traditional beer, an astonishing doubling of the rate from a year before.

More men have also (re)discovered the delights of real ale in the last twelve months, leading to an overall figure of 50% of British drinkers who had tried the stuff in the last year.

“These findings show the increasing consumer demand for wide choice, top quality, and generally for local produce,” said Mike Benner of the Campaign for Real Ale.

The Great British Beer Festival, where 450 real ales are on show, is on at Earls Court from 4-8 August.