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CAMRA calls for improvements to quality control in pubs

Quality control is one of the biggest threat facing today’s pubs, according to the Good Beer Guide 2020, CAMRA’s premier publication featuring the very best pubs to find a great pint in the UK.

In a forward to this year’s Guide, CAMRA National Director Ben Wilkinson suggests that just one poor pub experience can turn a customer off forever, highlighting how important a quality pint is when it comes to a living product, such as cask-conditioned real ale.

Ensuring quality control for beer served in pubs has been a cornerstone of CAMRA campaigning for decades and led to the foundation of Cask Marque, a not-for-profit organisation that accredits 10,000 pubs nationwide.

In addition, many beer-lovers rely on ‘beer bibles’ such as the Good Beer Guide to help guide them to the best venues.

According to this year’s Cask Report, to be released on 26 September 2019, perceived poor quality of beer is the main reason drinkers avoid it, with 70% of ale drinks saying they have been served off or stale beer. In addition, a Marston’s Beer Report found that for every 100 pints of cask ale served, 10 of those pints are disappointing, and, rather than complain about the beer directly, four in 10 drinkers will avoid that pub in the future – and probably tell their friends to do the same.

Writing in the Good Beer Guide, Ben Wilkinson explains: “Perhaps we just have to accept the hard truth that the biggest threat to the pub is the pub itself. Or rather, the perception of the pub. We know how one bad pint of cask ale can put someone off for life, but perhaps we’re less ready to consider the equivalent risk with pubs. You go in one where the welcome is unfriendly, the beer is stale, the tables are sticky and an insufferable bore persists in engaging you in conversation, and maybe staying at home with the TV wins out for evermore.” 

Tom Stainer, CAMRA’s Chief Executive adds: “It is certainly true that one bad experience in a pub can put a consumer off for life – which is incredibly concerning, as more and more pubs close their doors every week. Conversely, pubs that serve top-quality real ale can draw a loyal following of cask-lovers, which is why it is key that educating landlords and licensees about storage and dispense is absolutely key.

“We all have a role to play in supporting the nation’s pubs – from the publican serving behind the bar to the customer choosing where to spend their income. We hope that the Good Beer Guide, which is independently compiled by thousands of volunteers across the country, helps discerning beer lovers seek out their next great cask pint.”