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2nd June 2023

Greene King Brewery believes pins will help the cask sector

Greene King Brewery is getting excited to launch cask pins to the market this July, with the belief that the 4.5-gallon unit container will be a key answer to ensuring quality and the future of cask ale.

In January, the Bury St Edmunds brewer announced that it would become the UK’s first major brewer to launch cask pins with a seven-figure investment. Greene King still believes that the introduction of pins will reinvigorate the sector by helping licensees always deliver a range of fantastic fresh cask beer to customers, engaging lapsed and new drinkers whilst also minimising wastage.

Offering the smaller unit will give operators the ability to manage a lower throughput at quieter times of the week, meaning less waste from unsold beer. However, another key solution that pins will bring is the opportunity to ensure operators have more control in providing a good quality pint during lower footfall. As pins contain approximately 36 pints of ale, this means operators will only need to serve 12 pints a day to maintain quality cask beer, rather than 24 pints a day when using firkins, so operators can still offer cask ale during lower footfall periods.

The brewer confirms that firkins will still very much have a place in the cellar, as when operators have busier periods and are selling more cask ale, pins can offer an additional seasonal cask ale on the bar. With the lower unit of a pin for the seasonal ale, the operator can offer a wider variety without committing to double the volume in firkins.

CGA data reports that cask drinkers are happy to pay more for a great quality pint*, however to be able to premiumise cask ale with customers we need to ensure that quality is always on point, and pins can help to ensure this with operators having less throughput to manage at quieter times.

John Malone, Head of Brewery Engagement at Greene King said: “We continue to invest and innovate within the cask beer sector and as such, are excited to launch pins this July. Pins will help us to address some of the key challenges that serving this unique product can bring and provide operators with support to serve our fabulous beers in perfect condition, whilst also maximising profits, and minimising wastage.

“Simply, we believe that pins will provide three things: more choice, less waste and better quality, which is just what the category needs. Whether operators are wanting to expand their range and offer seasonal ale or need that lower throughput at quieter times of the week, pins can provide that support to ensure that it’s a quality pint being served to the customer. Cask ale is part of our heritage and is the heart of any great pub and we remain passionate in investing in the category for the future.”

Greene King have also implemented support tools for cask for its customers, offering full cellar training, to ensure they have all the guidance needed, and the Cask Iron Guarantee which is a pledge to free trade customers from the brewer to refund or credit Greene King casks that go out of date ahead of them being sold through. Greene King also supports its customers with tasting notes and POS for its seasonal ale calendar to really help drive knowledge and awareness of cask for teams in pubs.

The brewer will be rolling out cask pins to all managed, leased & tenanted and free trade customers this July with its seasonal cask beers calendar, Fresh Cask Releases. The first seasonal beers to be available in pins will be Ale Fresco, a smooth golden ale, and New Tricks, the latest collaboration with Nethergate Brewery.

To order from the Cask Fresh Releases Calendar contact your Greene King sales representative or phone 0345 600 1799.


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About Greene King:

Greene King is the country’s leading pub company and brewer with c.2,600 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland.

At Greene King we are passionate about delivering our purpose to ‘pour happiness into lives’. That’s for our customers, our team, our pub partners, our suppliers and the communities in which we live, operate and serve. Founded in 1799 with offices in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and Burton on Trent in Staffordshire we employ around 39,000 people across the group with four divisions: Greene King pubs, Destination Brands, Partnership and Ventures, and Brewing & Brands.

  • Greene King pubs are located where people and communities come together; pubs enjoyed in cities, towns and villages throughout the country
  • Destination Brands is a mixture of food and drink-led brands including Hungry Horse, Farmhouse Inns, Chef & Brewer, Wacky Warehouse, and Pub & Carvery, Pub & Dining and Pub & Grill
  • Partnerships & Ventures includes Pub Partners, which runs our tenanted and leased pubs business and Hive Franchise pubs, and our Ventures Brands which is made up of Metropolitan Pub Company, Hickory’s, Hotels Group and Crafted Pubs
  • Brewing & Brands covers the brewing sides of the business. Quality ales are brewed at the Westgate brewery in Bury St Edmunds and the Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar. Our industry-leading portfolio includes Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen, Abbot Ale, Ice Breaker and Belhaven Best and our premium beers, Level Head and Flint Eye, brewed for the modern-day drinker.

For more information, or any other media inquiries please contact