Why it pays to educate your bar staff in beer

By Claire Churchard

- Last updated on GMT

Expert advice: beer sommelier Jane Peyton on how beer training for staff can benefits sales
Expert advice: beer sommelier Jane Peyton on how beer training for staff can benefits sales
Jane Peyton, beer writer and founder of the School of Booze, explains why educated bar staff can pave the way to higher profits for pubs and why paying more for quality beer is worth every penny. The Morning Advertiser caught up with her ahead of her presentation at the Bar & Pub Show, which runs from 2 to 4 October at Olympia London.

How did you become interested in beer?

Jane Peyton: I’ve always liked beer. One of my early memories is of watching Coronation Street and seeing people drinking beer in the pub, enjoying it and being together.

I like the look of it, the theatre of a pint of real ale being pulled in a pub, there’s a drama to it.

What keeps you interested in beer?

JP: Now is the most dynamic time for the beer industry. There are so many different styles and so many different breweries. It’s very innovative, there’s always something new. It keeps you on your toes in terms of research.

What have you seen change over the past five to 10 years?

JP: Pub customers are more educated about food and drink, tastes have changed. Best bitter is going out of fashion to be replaced by golden and pale ales. It’s a good thing because people who don’t want to drink bitter now have the option to drink something else.

I also know, from talking to other women, that they don’t drink bitter. But if there’s a juicy IPA available they are absolutely on it. Now we have got beers for everybody.

Pub customers are getting a wide range of beers in pubs, it’s giving customers choice. And I’m all for choice and educating people about different styles of beer.

How important is it to educate staff?

JP: Staff that are educated about different beers can upsell, explain and enthuse when they’re talking to customers. Bar staff can pass that knowledge on to the customers and it increases profits.

What beer trends are you excited about at the moment?

JP: Sour beers are massively popular at the moment. Sour beers act as a beer bridge from cider to beer.  One worth looking out for is the Wild Beer Company’s Sleeping Lemons. It is a gose-style, low-alcohol beer that has flavours of salt, coriander and lemon. It’s an acidic, light beer – an amazing beer.

What’s the most common mistake you see pubs making with beer?

JP: When pubs only serve bitter. You can see this all over the country. They might have five hand pulls with beers from different breweries but they’re basically the same bitter. In food terms, it would be like serving a cheese plate full of cheddar. I walk straight out of pubs when I see that because if they can’t be bothered to offer me a choice, then I can’t be bothered to spend my money there.

What’s the best thing you see in pubs?

JP: It’s the ones that offer a really big choice of beer, with educated staff that can describe different beers. The best pub is the Rake in Borough Market. I saw the recent debate about the supposedly high cost of certain beers. I don’t agree that the price is too high. Hops are expensive and nobody would question paying £20 for a bottle of wine. You get what you pay for, and do people gripe about paying high prices for Manolo Blahnik? No they don’t.

If you'd like to hear more from this beer expert, Jane Peyton will be speaking on the topic of ‘smarter staff, more sales’ at the Bar and Pubs Show on 2 October.

For more great speakers, live demos, masterclasses, and new products, visit the show from 2 ​to 4 October at Olympia London, running alongside the Restaurant Show.​

Find out more and register at www.thebarandpubshow.co.uk​​ and follow @BarPubShow

Related topics: Beer, Training

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