Spirit tenant hits out at pubco's 'insulting' email on beer line cleaning

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Business development manager Beer Alcoholic beverage

Queen's Head lessee: 'I’m in this pub every day and I know when my lines need cleaning'
Queen's Head lessee: 'I’m in this pub every day and I know when my lines need cleaning'
A Spirit Leased tenant has hit out at the pub company sending “insulting” emails demanding beer lines be cleaned more frequently without offering to reimburse the cost.

Paul Mackay, of the Queen’s Head in Nutfield, Surrey, said he received no complaints about the quality of his beer from customers and criticised the suggestion that trade would fall because of infrequent cleaning of lines rather than the pressures of being a tied tenant.

In a mass email, seen by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​, Mackay’s business development manager (BDM) told licensees it was “alarming” that a large number of publicans did not clean their lines every seven days as “guests are paying you for a product that they expect to be perfect”.

He added: “I am sure some of you will have seen trade dropping off, do you think this is due to people not coming out as much or could it be that they do not like the taste of the product you may be serving them and have decided to drink somewhere else where the entire drinking experience is better?”

Dirty lines

The email outlined the percentage of pints that had gone through ‘dirty beer lines’ in each pub in his area. It showed 66.8% of Mackay’s pints go through ‘dirty lines’.

Mackay said he generally cleans his lager lines every eight to 10 days and ale lines every other barrel, but he would be happy to increase the frequency if it did not cost him £30 each time, or £1,560 per year, in beer down the drain.

“I felt a little bit insulted,” he said. “I’m in this pub every day and I know when my lines need cleaning.

“It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth for them to say your business is dropping because of dirty lines when they’re a multi-billion-pound company and we’re struggling to make money on a weekly basis.”

A spokeswoman for Spirit Leased said: “It is very important to us that our licensees are able to deliver the best guest experience in their pubs.”

Industry guidelines say lines should be cleaned every seven days to prevent wild yeast and bacteria infection from fobbing beer.

Related topics Beer

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