The intense fortnight of trading that is the Christmas period can put cellar equipment under pressure it is not usually exposed to. With this in mind Vic Nicholls, business development director at cellar services supplier City Dispense, has issued some timely advice for licensees.
"Christmas has a habit of causing problems just at a time when everything in the pub needs to be in peak operating condition," he says. "And, of course, any loss of business at such a crucial time can have a severe impact on profitability.
"The most obvious course of action is to reduce the risk of breakdown by having all your equipment, including cellar coolers, icemakers and glasswashers, thoroughly serviced in the week prior to Christmas."Remember, the cellar is probably going to be more heavily stocked than at any other time of the year, which means that you may not be able to get to pipes or equipment for some time - and that's bad news if something goes down.
"While you are in the cellar, think about any impending large deliveries and what impact they are likely to have on your plans for barrel rotation. And, while you're at it, check sell-by dates as well!"Vic also recommends some procedures outside the cellar to make Christmas go more smoothly.
"Look back at last year's sales and see what sold well - and what didn't - and order stock to suit," he says. "Also, check delivery dates with your suppliers and try to arrange small, frequent 'top-up', deliveries rather than one massive drop. This will save space and prevent you from overstocking, leaving you with beer you can't sell when things quieten down after the festivities."