the cask project

Cask gives pubs the edge on global stage

By Helen Charlesworth, managing director of Stonegate Group

- Last updated on GMT

Stonegate on why cask is so important to UK pubs

Related tags: Cask ale, Beer

The UK’s cask ale category is unrivalled the world over.

The Cask Project

The Morning Advertiser​​​​​​ launched The Cask Project​​​​​​​ in a bid to re-energise the category and reinstall it in pride of place on the bar of pubs throughout the country.

Cask beer is in long-time decline and, having joined forces with some of the UK’s leading cask beer suppliers – Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company, Greene King, Sharp’s Brewery and St Austell – we want to reinvigorate attitudes within the trade to a product which should be rightly cherished by operators.

Cask beer is a unique product that can only be replicated successfully within pubs but the perception of cask, particularly among younger drinkers, is that it is made and loved only by an ageing male population.

We want to create a real buzz about cask to get pub owners, operators, general managers, bartenders and all pub staff on board and debunk the myths surrounding the drink and educate them on how to make cask work for their business. And by doing this, we can pass on that knowledge, care and skill into cask beer at the bar for customers to get excited about too.

No other nation produces the quality and indeed quantity of real ale that we do here in the UK. From large global brand names to popular regional favourites, to inventive and eccentric local brews, brewers have evolved with changing consumer palates just as much as, if not more so, than any other food or drink categories.

Perfect pint

At Stonegate, across both our managed and leased & tenanted estates, we champion this innovation and recognise cask ale is unique to the great British pub experience. We, therefore, owe it to our customers that we provide the perfect pint in all our pubs and venues.

Across our managed sites, we launched First for Cask​ – a project that kicked off shortly after reopening from lockdowns. Its key focus was to get our businesses back up to strength in terms of the broad range in site, the quality of our beer, the standard of our cellars and the training of our teams. We work with Cask Marque, utilising, in addition to its to site visits and audits, its training programmes to equip our teams with knowledge and skills to maintain standard. To date, almost 5,000 team members have completed Cask Marque’s ‘Beer Pro’ training programme.

Key date activities

In the Stonegate Pub Partners side of the business, we have recently undertaken an in-depth review of our cask ale range so our Pub Partners have access to the best national and local ales available. Our On the Dray​ scheme supplements this selection with interesting beers to help our pubs mark key date activities such as sporting events, bank holidays and Halloween. We are also working with our suppliers to come up with great incentives for our Pub Partners to access branded point to sale to really bring the products to life on the bar.

At Stonegate, we understand and are embracing that cask ale is fundamental to getting customers back out to pub due to its unique proposition. You can’t physically buy it anywhere else. We support and are fully behind all the brewers and breweries we work with, ensuring that perfect pint every serve, so we do their fabulous beers credit. We are currently working with more than 350 brewers cross the country ensuring that our pubs are able to present beers that are both relevant to their local community and that provide great throughput due to the strength of brand.

Related topics: The Cask Project

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