Swindon-based family brewery and pub chain Arkell’s is celebrating achieving 100% pass rate in an accreditation scheme that ensures beer lovers get served their favourite pint in perfect condition.
All Arkell’s 94 pubs across Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Hampshire were awarded top marks in the Cask Marque scheme.
The accreditation was introduced in 1997. Its team of 45 qualified assessors make more than 20,000 visits to pubs a year in England, Scotland, Wales, Europe and even the US to check the temperature, appearance, aroma and taste of Britain’s favourite tipple.
Pubs that join the scheme, operated by the Cask Marque Trust, are visited unannounced by an independent assessor at least twice a year. In the first year, they are visited twice in the first three months and in subsequent years they are visited once in the summer and once in the winter.
The anonymous assessor checks all cask ales on sale for temperature, appearance, aroma and taste.
Cask Marque national account manager Roger Clayson said: “For the pub to pass, all the beers must reach the required standard and it then receives a plaque, framed certificate and merchandising material to inform its customers of the award and their rights. This is a great achievement by Arkell’s and each of its individual landlords and sets the standard for the pub estates of other breweries.”
One Arkell’s pub was so good that Tom O’Rourke, Cask Marque assessor for Gloucestershire, thinks it sets the standard for the whole country.
The Mason’s Arms at Meysey Hampton, near Cirencester, particularly impressed him.
“It is always a pleasure to come across a ‘top league’ pub and pub manager who took real pride in not just the quality of the beers available, but the entire customer experience,” said Tim. “The beers at The Masons Arms at Meysey Hampton are well kept and carefully presented.
“They represent an excellent example of what the trade needs to aspire to, achieve and maintain to face a challenging future with confidence.”
Arkell’s said a significant investment in cellar management training over the past three years, had paid off.
Head brewer Alex Arkell said: “This is a team effort between us at the brewery, our landlords to make sure that every pint they serve to customers is top quality and the Cask Marque team to give our landlords the final seal of approval. We’re thrilled that we’re leading the way.”
Some 10,000 pubs in the UK have the Cask Marque plaque for the quality of their beer and research shows that the plaque is recognised by 56% of cask ale drinkers.
Pictured: Head brewer Alex Arkell, right, with Paul Fallows of The Mason’s Arms at Meysey Hampton