Cask Marque initiatives prepare pubs for reopening

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

23 June 2020

Beer quality control organisation Cask Marque has launched two new measures to assist pubs with reopening in the wake of Covid-19

The two initiatives are: an accreditation scheme for health and safety compliance, developed with its sister company, Stay in a Pub, and a set of guidelines for stocking cask ale.  

Both initiatives strive to give pubs the resources they need to create the best possible experience for their customers as trading resumes.

We’re Good to Go

The new accreditation scheme, called We’re Good to Go, is a free-of-charge online programme offered to the 1,700 pubs with rooms on the Stay in a Pub website and the 9,500 pubs accredited by Cask Marque. 

Created in partnership with tourism agency Visit Britain, it serves to make pubs aware of the health and safety measures they must implement, while keeping the public up to date on how local pubs plan to keep their communities safe. 

‘There is a concern that the Government’s “Stay at Home” campaign has been so successful that consumers will initially be unwilling to visit public places and book overnight accommodation,’ explained Paul Nunny, director of Cask Marque and Stay in a Pub. ‘Giving them reassurance that staying in a pub is safe will help to break down these barriers.’

Cask stocking post-lockdown

Once customers feel safe going to the pub, Cask Marque’s newly released guidelines on selling cask ale aim to help venues deliver great-tasting beer.

According to the organisation, ‘everything points to renewed relevance for cask ale’. Drinkers who have purchased bottled beer in lockdown are likely to embrace cask’s freshness as a point of difference – but getting it right is crucial to sales.

As a starting point, the guidelines urge operators to reflect on the role cask played in their venues before the pandemic, giving advice for pubs that never or rarely sold cask, pubs that sold some, and pubs well known for their cask selection. 

Pubs without much previous cask custom are recommended to start off with a single handpump, and to remember that venues with ‘low throughput will struggle to sell cask in sufficient volume to keep the beer in good condition’. Pubs with some previous cask sales are encouraged to be strategic in the beers they stock, making sure not to double up on styles or abv levels. Finally, pubs with ample cask experience are advised to ‘focus on throughput over breadth of choice’ as they reestablish their customer base.

Nunny emphasised that serving high-quality beer is of the utmost importance in this recovery period: ‘The on-trade will have changed,’ he said. ‘You don’t know what footfall will look like and you don’t know what beer throughput will be. But you do know that if you don’t serve your cask ale in good condition, you will lose custom – custom that is now more needed than ever.’

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