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Cask Marque Chronicle: Educating Your Consumers

As part of Cask Marque’s continued support for the cask ale industry, we have put together a series of guidelines on all aspects in the buying, storing and selling of cask ale to ensure it reaches customers in the perfect condition.

These can be used as a guide for licensees and staff alike – hopefully as a useful reminder or as a training guide.

This week’s newsletter focuses on how to educate beer drinkers on cask ale:

For the majority of drinkers beer is just beer whether it comes out of a hand pull or a tap, isn’t it? Have you ever considered how much your drinkers really know about cask, and how different it is to other beer types? Not just in flavour, or the way it’s served, but what it actually is and the preparation needed to get it ready to serve?

One of the ways of doing this is to get customers involved:

  • Hold regular ‘tasting’ evenings to showcase your range of cask ales. Serve the beer in wine glasses or third of a pint glasses and charge a set price for a ‘flight’ of beer. Utilise the event to explain to guests the difference between cask and keg beers – messages such as ‘fresh’, ‘British’ and ‘natural’ are key to understanding the product 
  • Arrange ‘Meet the Brewer’ events and invite local brewers along to talk through their range of beers and how they are made
  • If appropriate, don’t be afraid to invite a customer into your cellar and show them the process cask ale goes through (venting, tapping, conditioning) before being ready to serve. They could even change a cask.
  • Ensure customers observe you checking the quality of your beer during service: check the temperature using a thermometer or probe at the bar, taste the beer in front of customers (our Cask Marque inspectors regularly report that customers love watching them conduct the assessment process, and ask lots of questions about what they are checking and why)
  • Get customers involved in choosing your range – ask what their favourite styles are and which breweries they like
  • Many craft beer bars hold ‘tap takeovers’ where one brewer showcases their whole portfolio on all the hand pulls. The brewers are excellent at promoting these takeovers and explaining why their beer is special

Cask ale is a really special product and with consumers falling in love with beer all over again, make sure they understand how unique this product is.

For more information about Cask Marque accreditation or cask training please visit www.cask-marque.co.uk or call 01206 752212