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Cask Marque Speaker at CAMRA Meeting

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Every year Cask Marque make hundreds of presentations and speeches around the United Kingdom. We have 45 assessors, normally qualified brewers, as well as two National Account Managers on the road who when called upon, talk about Cask Marque and beer quality in general.

tim-orourke-camra-2011These talks are done to a variety of people; from head office staff at breweries and pub groups, to Cask Marque accredited pubs, to CAMRA regional meetings. If you are interested in getting one of our team to come and talk to you email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 01206 752212. As long as you are organising enough people to make it worth our while then we will normally be able to do these free of charge.

See below an article reproduced from the West Berks CAMRA newsletter.

"On Tuesday 4 October, during National Cask Ale Week, a campaign organised by Cask Marque and CAMRA, Tim O’Rourke gave a talk at the Lamb Inn, Enborne Road, Newbury about Cask Marque and their accreditation process.

Tim has a family background in brewing and worked at the Courage brewery in Reading. He teaches at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. He has a special interest in Russian Imperial Stout and is unhappy that this style is now threatened by higher duty rates for beer stronger than 7.5% ABV. This year he organised the Great Baltic Adventure to encourage the revival of British stout exports to Russia. The 60 foot Themopylae Clipper sailed from London to St Petersburg and delivered 14 varieties of Russian Imperial Stout, brewed by 11 British breweries. En route, there were stops to visit local beer festivals in Copenhagen (Charlie’s Bar), Stockholm and Helsinki.

Tim covers Gloucestershire for Cask Marque and meets up twice a year with the 45 other assessors, many of whom will also have had distinguished brewing careers. He admitted that he is a brewer, not a cellarman, but was able to arrange for us to look around the Lamb’s cellar and point out the factors involved in serving beer at the required Cask Marque quality standard.

This inspection was preceded by a talk about the Cask Marque accreditation process and a quality assessment of Adnams Lighthouse, the current guest beer. Tim gave us each a half pint of the beer, an official report sheet and a flavours card so that we could rate the beer on four aspects. Scores of 5, 3, 2 or 0 for: Temperature, Appearance, Aroma and Taste must total between 16 and 20 to achieve a pass. A temperature between 10 - 14°C earns a score of 5. As expected, for a Cask Marque accredited pub, we were able to give the beer a passing score.

Although up to 50% of pubs may fail on their first report, an assessor will build up a relationship with each pub, and with advice and educational materials, a 90% pass rate would be expected for subsequent visits. An annual fee is charged to cover two inspections per year. However, several breweries, including Arkell’s, will sponsor their pubs to achieve Cask Marque standard. After twenty years, this has now reached a high level of brand recognition.

Before leaving, Tim handed us copies of ‘Profit through Quality – A guide to cellar management and beer dispense’ a comprehensive, fully illustrated guide. He also posed for a photograph next to Ann Ayliffe (the publican) with Glenn Parsons and Mike Avery (right)."