Each year Fuller’s reveals its Master Cellarman of the Year in recognition of the landlord or landlady serving the most consistently-good cask ale. The 2014 winner was Helen Wilson from the Mad Bishop and Bear which is located at Paddington station in London.
The Mad Bishop and Bear received the award after excelling in every area of quality control from cellar to glass. Helen Wilson, General Manager at the Mad Bishop and Bear, said: “We entered the competition last year and I was delighted to win best newcomer and second overall, but to win the title this year is an amazing achievement. Over the last few years I have enjoyed the huge challenge of bringing the pub back to life, including regaining the lost Master Cellarman status for the pub and increasing the stillage capacity from 12 to 21 barrels.
“Earlier this year we brewed our own beer, using only English hops and malts and sold 18 barrels of it in less than 30 days. We sell more London Pride than any other draught product we stock and now always need five 18 gallon barrels on the stillage to keep up with demand. It takes an amazing team behind our efforts and everyone who works at the Mad Bishop and Bear takes pride in what we have achieved and is focussed on continuing to serve great beer.”
During the rigorous quality checks carried out by the Fuller’s Beer Quality Team, cellar hygiene and dispense equipment are thoroughly inspected, as well as samples of beer taken away for analysis, to ensure the customer is being given the best of the best.
“It’s such a pleasure to give this award to a person who lives and breathes cask ale,” said Fuller’s head brewer and competition judge John Keeling.
“When you visit a Fuller’s pub which has been awarded Master Cellarman status, you can be safe in the knowledge that the beer they serve is in the best possible condition – just as it is when it leaves the brewery gates. Even more incredibly, all eight of our finalists this year received top marks during the judging, showing just how high the standard is.”
The pub which has traditional mahogany fittings, an extra long bar and seven real ales on tap, describes itself as “a real English pub – not a glorified station lounge!” The pub’s website includes a beer menu which suggests some of the foods that the beers can accompany and uses Twitter to promote guest beers coming to the pub as well as some of the more limited edition Fuller’s ales which the pub also serves from time to time.
The Master Cellarman of the Year award recognises consistently outstanding cellar quality in Fuller’s pubs, with managers and tenants needing to sustain a score of at least 96% across four visits from the Fuller’s Beer Quality Team throughout the year to be named as finalists for the overall title.
To date, 212 Fuller’s pubs hold the Master Cellarman badge of distinction, which is displayed in all the certified pubs as a gong on top of the London Pride pump handle.