Beer Marque aims to raise handling and serving standards across the industry, building on the lessons learned by its sister scheme during the past couple of decades, however, the new initiative will focus on beer across the board, not just cask beer.
Pubs wishing to be accredited to the scheme, which will cost £195 in year one, and £140 in the second year, will need to pass both a cellar inspection and a bar and service inspection that will assess the correct handling and cleanliness of glassware, the use of correct branding and train staff to pour and serve the perfect pint. The scheme will also assess that ice machines are being hygienically maintained.
Cask Marque director Paul Nunny said more attention needed to be given to service levels when it came to beer, and staff should be aiming to deliver a high standard. “We need to premiumise beer so that when people go into the pub, it’s a different experience to drinking from home.”
He said recent research had shown pubs were over-ranging, and selling beer of low quality as a result. One in three pints were being served from lines overdue a clean and that 22% of sites were serving beer outside of recommended temperature.
On top of this, bar staff lacked the knowledge required, he added: “We’re going to get a lot of failures initially, but that’s fine because we’re there to drive up standards.”
The inspections would be undertaken twice a year and he said the organisation was aiming to have over 2,000 operations signed up to the scheme by 2020. He said the scheme had already attracted engagement and support from a number of leading pubcos, including Ei Group, Punch, Stonegate and JD Wetherspoon. It was also getting backing from leading suppliers including Budweiser Brewing Group, Diageo and Heineken.
Nunny added: “Customers expect a great beer experience when in the pub. Quality and serve are of utmost importance to them. The pubs’ reward is in more sales and less waste. This accreditation allows us to engage with the major brewers who also recognise the importance of a quality product.”
Heineken UK category and trade marketing manager Jerry Shedden added: “Cask Marque has trailblazed consumer understanding and recognising pubs that serve great quality cask beer. With the beer marketing evolving, it’s a fantastic step forward that the same principle should be applied to all beer. Beer Marque will mean that those pubs serving the very best, consistent, quality pints, in the correct clean glassware, will be able to proudly display their Beer Marque seal of approval.”
Inspections under the scheme will get under way throughout May, and the initiative will be promoted to consumers from 2020.