In a letter, seen exclusively by the Morning Advertiser, the pubco has written to its lessees informing them that it has “reviewed the value” of the system and decided to remove it on a phased basis.
While the equipment is used to help monitor dispense and line cleaning some licensees have been concerned it was being used by pubcos to check whether they were buying outside the tie.
The letter added: “Please note that even though we are removing flow monitoring from our estate, the requirement to purchase products from us remains in place and we have increased our team of compliance managers to conduct visits.”
Marston’s said that it would provide each pub with the physical system in the cellar if they want to retain the flow monitoring service. However, it said it would be the responsibility of the licensee to organise an individual contract with Brulines owner Vianet.
“This information will not be accessible by Marston’s, and the contract and data would remain your responsibility,” the letter said.
Marston’s has withdrawn the equipment after using it within its estate for around ten years on keg and craft lines.
A Marston's spokesman said: “There are 330 leased and tenanted pubs that currently have a system in place. The process will start this week on phased basis and all systems will be removed by 10 January 2018.”
Marston’s has simplified the structure of its senior pub management team over the last two years. Most recently Peter Dalzell stepped down from his role as managing director of Marston’s Inns and Taverns and the board.
A Vianet spokesman said: “We don’t comment on the contractual and commercial relationships between a customer and its tenants. We remain committed to working closely with all our partners to help them run more profitable businesses.”
The Vianet and Cask Marque Beer Quality Report, produced earlier this year, revealed that almost half of all pints of cider and a third of draught beers served in pubs surveyed in the south-west came from beer lines that were overdue a clean.