Cask Marque rolls out pub cellar ratings
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Pub-goers familiar with star ratings for commercial kitchens can now use a similar system to assess beer cellars.
Cask Marque is rolling out star ratings for pub cellars and aims to assess 8,000 by the end of this year.
From January this year, pubs must achieve a 4/5-star cellar to receive a Cask Marque award. Assessors believe it is the biggest driver of beer quality since the formation of Cask Marque 25 years ago.
Pubs that achieve the top ranking will be allowed to display a window sticker (pictured) and all star ratings will appear on the CaskFinder app which is used 60,000 times a month.
One of the first pub groups to endorse the scheme and act on the findings is JD Wetherspoon which has 95 per cent of its cellars with the top rating.
Wetherspoon personal and retail audit director James Ullman said “Real ale quality has always been extremely important for JD Wetherspoon and the beer and cellar hygiene audit has provided us with an excellent framework to improve in this area.
“This independent assessment has helped ensure we continue to serve excellent real ales and provide assurance to our customers that we are operating our cellars to the highest standards.”
Okells, on the Isle of Man, is also proud to have achieved 100 per cent 4/5 ratings in its 30 pubs.
Greene King has been using the rating system in its retail estate for the last 18 months to drive up standards and to focus the technical services team on quality solutions.
The cellar audit consists of an 11-point check list including cellar temperature, stock rotation, safe use of gas cylinders, clean beer lines and glassware plus an inspection of the hygiene surrounding the glass washing and ice machines.
Cask Marque founder Paul Nunny said: “The industry has really embraced the idea of cellar inspections as a method of improving and communicating quality standards. The visit by one of our expert assessors is equivalent to a training session on best practice in the cellar.
“Great cellar management improves yields and quality and thus pub profitability. Consumer research shows 76 per cent of cask ale drinkers would choose a pub based on its star rating.
“People are accustomed to seeing food hygiene ratings and will relate to the cellar star rating sticker as a sign of excellence in the handling and dispensing of beers in the outlet.
“All pubs that serve food have a star rating and it should be the industry’s aim to have every pub in Britain with a cellar hygiene rating.”