For the first time in half a century, sales of real ale in the UK have increased at the expense of lager.

The drink’s share of the £17bn UK beer market rose to 20.6%, up from 20.4% in 2007, according to figures from the BBPA. Meanwhile, lager's share of the beer market fell from 74.5% in 2008 to 74.3% - its first drop in half a century of continuous growth.

This week’s publication of the Good Beer Guide reveals there are now more than 700 real ale brewers in the UK – more than at any time since WW2.

Ale’s new found popularity among women and younger drinkers is being credited with driving sales. Supermarkets have increased their ranges of real ales, with Tesco now stocking 350 bottled ales, compared to 20 in 2005.