Cask Marque was formed after the quality of cask ale in pubs deteriorated following on from the 1989 Beer Orders Act. When the larger brewers were forced to sell off most of their pubs beer quality suffered.
Brewers were unable to provide the same technical support and training they previously undertook when they owned the pubs and although the beer leaving the brewery gates was as good as it had ever been, the quality of cask ale in pubs slowly but surely declined.
In 1998 Cask Marque was formed to try and reverse the decline in quality, and the inevitable fall in sales by creating the Cask Marque Award which recognised pubs which served perfect cask ale. By promoting these pubs as places where the consumer was guaranteed a great pint of cask ale every time it was predicted this would encourage other pubs to raise their standards too. Pubs apply to gain the award and one of our 45 assessors around the country, who are qualified brewers, will visit on two unannounced occasions checking all the cask ales on sale for temperature, appearance, aroma and taste.
If this sounds like your dream job, then you are not alone. In a recent survey in Men's Health magazine the job of 'Cask Marque Beer Assessor' was ranked at number seven sandwiched between fighter pilot and porn star.
We are not however, the first people to take on the job of improving beer quality. Below is an excerpt from a 1928 Evelyn Waugh book called "Decline and Fall" in which the following letter was published:
"My Dear Grimes
The other day at the sports you asked whether there was by any chance a job open for you at the brewery. I don't know if you were serious in this, but if you were a post has just fallen vacant which I feel might suit you. I should be glad to offer it to any friend who has been so kind to Percy. We employ a certain number of travellers to go round to various inns and hotels to sample the beer and see that it has not been diluted or in any way adulterated. Our junior traveller, who was a friend of mine from Cambridge, has just developed D.T.'s and has had to be suspended. The salary is two hundred a year with car and travelling expenses. Would this attract you at all? If so, let me know during the next few days.
Having never experienced them myself I had to look up what D.T.'s stood for and discovered it came from the Latin delirium tremens meaning trembling madness and indicating a violent sickness induced by withdrawal after alcohol abuse. Although it is commonly thought that sufferers hallucinate pink elephants, the most common animals seen are cats, dogs and snakes. Fortunately with the current drink driving regulations our assessors are very careful about how much they drink and no recent occurrences have been noted.