Cask Marque to widen reach with new ‘All Beer’ accreditation

By Claire Churchard

- Last updated on GMT

Bar smarts: knowledgeable staff behind the bar encourage repeat business
Bar smarts: knowledgeable staff behind the bar encourage repeat business

Related tags Cask marque Beer

Quality accreditation service Cask Marque plans to widen its reach beyond cask ale with a new ‘All Beer’ accreditation scheme for beers on draught, The Morning Advertiser has learned.

Unveiled as part of the organisation’s five-year plan, the All Beer accreditation will help consumers identify pubs that serve high-quality beer in a glass.

The new certification will be totally separate from the existing craft beer scheme but will enable accredited premises to display a plaque outside that is similar to the well-known Cask Marque sign.

To obtain the award, pubs will need to have trained bar staff, a trained cellar manager, a four or five-star rating on ‘Scores on the Cellar Doors’ and provide high-quality beer in a glass. The level of training required for cellar management and bar staff will be set at level 2 in the Beer Education Alliance (BEA) programme, Cask Marque said.

Training is a key part of the new accreditation and the awarding body is working with the BEA to certify training providers to deliver it using a blend of e-learning and classroom courses. Ultimately there will be four levels of training culminating in a ‘Master of Beer’ qualification.

The cost for level 1 training will be £150 plus VAT per year for each pub to use it for as many staff as required. Cask Marque said: “This alleviates the issue of training new staff and the common criticism ‘why train when staff leave?’.” The body said: “Working on an average of 15 bar staff engaged over a 12-month period, this is a cost of £10 a head, so we feel this is very financially viable given the benefits derived.” For level 2, training is likely to be two full days of classroom training, which will cost around £100 per head per day, the body said.

Data from The Cask Report 2016​ showed that having more knowledgeable staff behind the bar who can talk to customers about different beers encouraged repeat business (50% of customers), longer visits (31%) and recommendations to friends (6%).

Cask Marque director Paul Nunny said: “The business case is clear, more knowledgeable staff mean customers are more likely to stay for another drink, and come back with friends.”

Nunny also said that the All Beer-related training will be open to consumers and people working in the off-trade as well as on-trade employees to widen understanding and awareness of the importance of good quality beer.

The body is in talks with CAMRA about developing the consumer training and said that the off-trade training will be similar to the Wine & Spirit Education Trust formula.

Cask Marque said it plans to trial the training courses with five pubcos in early 2018 before it becomes more widely available.

A decision on whether to include cider or bottled and canned beers under the All Beer scheme is still being discussed and Cask Marque said it welcomed feedback on this area. 

The independent accreditation body has also taken over Cyclops​, the beer tasting note scheme, to continue its development and future growth and the body is set to relaunch its CaskFinder app with a new cask ale pump clip recognition function and Ale Trail locator.

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