Sell more beer!

A licensee attending one of the ‘Day of Beer’ training days I was running at Wye Valley Brewery came up to me at lunchtime and said that I had an impossible job. I asked what he meant. “Well, it is great that you are working with brewers to improve beer quality Brett, but I have stopped drinking cask beer in pubs (other than my own) because I am fed up of getting poor or indifferent pints”.  He is right of course. Without training and education the situation will not improve and with beer sales continuing to fall this will lead to more pubs closing. It doesn’t have to be this way. A recent industry report showed that pubs are missing out on nearly £15,000 worth of profit every year and that this is a direct result of poor beer quality. A comparatively small investment in education and training will reap benefits that will repay that expenditure many times over.

As well as beer knowledge and awareness training for all bar staff, there is a desperate need for training on setting up, conditioning and serving beer and cellar management (which includes temperature control, line cleaning and hygiene). It is also important to understand how many beers to have on the bar; choosing the right brands and styles is also a key element of training.

Too many pubs are serving beers that are past their best, too warm, lacking condition or are (unintentionally) cloudy. It would be great if consumers fed this back to you or your staff. The reality is that customers are more likely to leave the pint untouched and feel less likely to return. It is bad news for brewers as well, as many drinkers will blame them for the bad pint. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard a drinker say that they didn’t like a particular brand of beer when actually it was down to experiencing a poorly kept pint. Give that customer a well kept pint of the same beer and they are astonished!

Brett says, “Invest in your beer education programme. Bring everyone in your pub up to speed in terms of beer awareness and looking after it. That investment will reap dividends. Don’t leave it until next week – do it today.”

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