Flavour Inferences from Pump Clip Imagery


How do new drinkers choose between cask ale brands when they have no knowledge of a brand?


We showed a range of beer pump clips to non-ale drinkers and asked them to say how beer would taste.

Perceptual Beer Map
Perceptual map showing how customers perceive different beers


A mathematical technique known as multidimensional scaling was used to identify differences and similarities in flavour inferences and the perceptual map was created.


The closer beers are positioned in this beer space, the more similar are the flavour inferences.

The notable findings of this study are that:

  • Non-ale drinkers make strength inferences even though factual strength information is shown on the pump clip;
  • Some pump clips communicate very accurate colour, flavour and strength characteristics, others less so;
  • Oakham Inferno, for example, is perceived as much stronger than its actual strength, whilst Titanic Iceberg communicates an accurate colour and strength positioning.


Non-ale drinkers create expectations from pump clip imagery and the consequence of unmet expectations is often disappointment with the product and maybe the category. To attract new drinkers to the category it could be useful for pump clip designs to communicate product flavour characteristics.