In the hurry to re-open, pubs should not ignore the crucial issue of stocking policies, says industry expert Paul Nunny.

The Cask Marque boss said: “The on-trade will have changed. You don’t know what footfall will look like and you don’t know
what beer throughput will be. But you do know that if you don’t serve your cask ale in good condition, you will lose custom — custom that is now more needed than ever.”

The 2019 Cask Report showed that 40% of drinkers would not return to the same pub after being served a bad pint, and 37% would tell their friends about it.

Paul said: “To achieve great quality and avoid extensive wastage, pubs need to identify the role cask plays in their offer, look at past sales, and take into consideration the likely effect on trade of Covid 19.

Photograph: Red Flame Communications

“Remember, the golden rule is that once placed on sale, a cask must be sold within three days. That is, for every firkin, you need to sell 23 to 24 pints a day. It is a live, natural, fresh product, and needs to be treated as such.”

To help managers and licensees, Cask Marque has produced guidelines on stocking policy for cask to ensure pubs maximise the opportunity cask presents to them. The guidelines can be found here.

Paul added: “With pub turnover predicted to be low in the months following re-opening, monitoring and adjusting stock is vital to success. In your decision-making process, never forget that cask ale is unique to the pub — and a great draw for beer drinkers. You owe it to them — and to yourself — to serve it at its best.” The Cask Marque re-opening guide can be found here.

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