The awards, the first of which has been given to the Swan at Flitwick, Bedfordshire, recognise pubs serving the best possible pints and maximising yields, while also encouraging a proactive approach to cellar best practice and regulatory compliance.
Steph English, who runs the Swan, said the BIG programme got her entire team involved in setting high-quality standards at the pub.
“In order to meet the programme’s strict criteria, a consistent focus was necessary,” she said. “This in turn necessitated better and more systematic training of our staff. They were all chuffed to hear that we had passed, which can only be good for overall morale.
“We also all now know what it looks like if things start to slip below the standard set, from organising the cellar through to quality, presentation and cleanliness.”
Cask Marque accreditation
The BIG programme was launched in September 2016 with the aim of delivering the best possible coaching and support to Charles Wells’s 190 leased and tenanted pubs.
A tie in with Cask Marque also sees each graduating site achieve its industry benchmark accreditation in the process.
Charles Wells retail development manager Shaun Matthews added: “We’ve been carrying out trials over several months to ensure that our approach, process and content really do make a difference.
“The great news is that all trial sites have seen a significant improvement in their beer quality, service techniques, yields and consumer satisfaction. Based on the success of these trial sites, we’re already making plans to roll BIG out across the rest of the Charles Wells estate.”
Brewing arm sale
In July, Charles Wells secured its fourth Pizza, Pots & Pints site. The award-winning restaurant brand revolves around wood-fired pizzas, terracotta pots of comfort food and Charles Wells beers.
The brewing arm of Charles Wells was sold to Marston’s for £55m in May of this year.
Charles Wells pubs and other assets in the UK and France were not included in the sale, and the recipes to Charles Wells beers will not be changing, according to Marston’s managing director Richard Westwood.