About Cask Marque

Cask Marque was formed in 1998 to address the void in beer quality  control, caused partly by the 1990 beer orders which forced breweries to sell their pubs or vice versa, and thus often their interest in the quality itself, resulting in a major concern for the industry.

Cask Marque was formed by four breweries to drive up industry standards: Adnams, Greene King, Marston’s and Morlands, each providing Board members and guidance, as well as Paul Nunny, former Sales & Marketing Director at Adnams and Rupert Thompson who at the time was owner of Refresh UK.

Now approaching its 20th anniversary, Cask Marque remains a non-profit making organisation with a Board made up of representatives from large and small breweries, pub companies and trade bodies, all engaged in continuing to drive beer quality in the following ways:

Accreditation Scheme:

To assess the beer quality in pubs and ensure standards are driven and maintained, our team of assessors visit the pubs in our scheme at least twice a year. During the unannounced visit, the assessor checks all the cask ales on sale for temperature, taste, appearance and aroma. All the beers must reach the required standard for the pub to pass and it then receives a plaque, framed certificate and merchandising material to inform its customers of the award and their rights. The pub then appears on the CaskFinder app for those on the ‘World’s Biggest Ale Trail’ to visit.

Project Work:

Our project work incorporates our Grain to Glass program where we train and accredit throughout the whole beer supply chain. Starting with our SALSA plus BEER scheme, which is a food safety audit with the added relevant brewing specific requirements; through to the Distribution Charter for the transportation of beer; and the cellar management award ‘Scores on the Cellar Doors’;  before, finally, our accreditation scheme where we check beer in the glass as the consumer would be served it.

Outside of this program, we also carry out mystery drinker audits for various brewers and pub groups, as well as checking the quality of craft beer in pubs.

Training:

We run 100 one-day cellar management courses each year at iconic breweries across the UK as well as hundreds of 1-2-1 cellar management training courses onsite at pubs, to make sure the licensee knows how to look after cask ale as well as what equipment they have and how to use it. It is great to learn the theory at a brewery but it can also sometimes be really helpful to be walked through the learnings in their own environment.

Admin Services:

Part of our business plan is to bring industry quality initiatives together and we do this by offering back office administration services. There are many good schemes and ideas out there, but with no-one to help run them.

Any profit we make from the extra behind the scenes work we carry out goes back into promoting accredited pubs and driving the quality of cask ale.

Whilst the Board continues to plan and oversee the overall strategy, Paul Nunny remains the only Executive Director, with the day to day running of the organisation being carried out by Paul and his team.

Alastair Macnaught (Operations Manager) and Angie Armitage (PA and Office Manager) joined shortly after its launch and are still here today. Annabel Smith was our first National Account Manager, having initially joined from Diageo where she ran the ESP (Every Serve Perfect scheme amongst other things) and was recently voted Imbibe Educator of the Year. She is now self-employed but continues to run our training team and provide consultancy. Roger Clayson joined us as National Account Manager for the South, having previously worked with Paul at Adnams and prior to that in sales at Coca-Cola. Recently, we have added Edward Theakston and Rachel Evans as National Account Manager for the North and the Midlands respectively.

See also: What do Cask Marque do?

Who Runs Cask Marque?

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Our Sponsors

Cask Marque is supported by many companies in the brewing industry. Sponsors support their pubs or customers by sponsoring them to try and gain Cask Marque Accreditation. Should they fail an inspection then the sponsor will provide advice on how to remedy the problem. These are the companies which are currently Cask Marque sponsors. If you stock beers from or are owned by the companies there is a possibility they will sponsor you. All sponsorship must be agreed with the brewers/pub owners but can often be done via Cask Marque. Call us on 01206 752212 for more information or email angie@cask-marque.co.uk.

How Pubs Get The Accreditation?

If you are a pub which is interested in finding out more about Cask Marque and how to get involved, register today.

  1. 1
    A pub must apply to gain Cask Marque membership There is a nominal fee involved but as a not for profit organisation any money made is reinvested promoting the pubs in the scheme. If you think a pub deserves to be recognised by Cask Marque please let us have details of the pub and the name of the licensee and we will contact them directly.
  2. 2
    Within 4 weeks of applying to join, the pub will receive an unannounced visit from one of our 50+ qualified assessors. They are all qualified brewers with significant industry experience in all aspects of beer and cellar management. All the beers on sale (up to a maximum of 6) will be tested for temperature, appearance, aroma and taste. If each beer reaches the required standard then the pub will pass the visit. A further visit will be made within another 4 weeks and if this too is passed the pub will gain the award and will be sent the plaque, a framed dated certificate and other point of sale materials for inside the pub as well as appearing on the CaskFinder app.
  3. 3
    For a beer to score 100% on the visit it must be dispensed at between 10 and 14°C. These temperature guidelines are recommended by virtually all major brewers. Occasionally a brewer will stipulate that their beer should be dispensed at slightly different temperatures (cooler) in which case we will take this into account. All beers should be served to the Cask Marque assessor exactly as they would be served to a customer.
  4. 4
    The award is renewable every 12 months and a minimum of 2 visits will be conducted each year , ideally one in the summer and one in the winter to ensure that the equipment installed can cope with both warm and cold temperatures whilst still dispensing beer correctly.
  5. 5
    If any beers fail the audit then the assessor, where invited, will always try and identify the cause of the problem and where possible rectify it and/or provide on-site training and guidance in how to avoid the problem in the future.
  6. 6
    We actively encourage members of the public to feed back the quality of cask ale they come across in accredited pubs, both good and bad. If we receive complaints on poor beer we will send in an assessor to investigate and to try and highlight the cause of the problem. If the problem persists or the necessary investment is not made then the plaque will be removed from the pub. To comment on beer quality please email info@cask-marque.co.uk with full details. All complaints will be dealt with confidentially.

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