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27th October 2023

Star Rating of Cellars

This could be the biggest driver of beer quality since the formation of Cask Marque some 25 years ago. Remember beer is classified as a food and we need to ensure we have the same hygiene standards in the cellar as we have in the pub kitchen.

This is why Cask Marque have introduced a star rating system for cellars and aim to have assessed and star rated  8,000 cellars by the end of 2023.

Pubs that achieve a 4*/5* rating will be allowed to display the window sticker (see below) and all star ratings will appear on the CaskFinder app which is used 60,000 times a month to find Cask Marque pubs.

One of the first pubs groups to endorse the scheme and act on the findings are JD Wetherspoon who now have 95% of their pubs with a 4*/5* ratings.  James Ullman, Personal and Retail Audit Director said “Real ale quality has always been extremely important for JD Wetherspoon and the Beer & Cellar Hygiene Audit has provided us with an excellent framework to improve in this area.  This independent assessment has helped ensure we continue to serve excellent real ales and provide assurance to our customers that we are operating our cellars to the highest standards.”

Okells, on the Isle of Man, are also proud to have achieved 100% of 4*/5* ratings in  their 30 pubs.  Greene King, as a brewer, have been using the star rating system in their retail estate for the last 18 months to drive up standards of beer quality on all beers in their pubs and to focus the technical services team on quality solutions.

The cellar audit consists of an 11 point check list (see attached) including cellar temperature, stock rotation, safe use of gas cylinders, clean beer lines and clean glassware plus an inspection of the hygiene surrounding the glass washing and ice machines.

Paul Nunny, founder of Cask Marque commented “The industry has really embraced the idea of cellar inspections as a method of improving and communicating quality standards.  The visit by one of our expert assessors is equivalent to a training session on best practice in the cellar.  Great cellar management improves yields and quality and thus pub profitability.  Consumer research shows that 76% of cask ale drinkers would choose a pub based on its star rating.  People are accustomed to seeing food hygiene ratings and will relate to the cellar star rating sticker as a sign of excellence in the handling and dispensing of beers in the outlet.”

All pubs that serve food have a star rating and it should be the industry’s aim to have every pub in Britain with a cellar hygiene rating.

For more information contact or on 07768 614065

Notes to the Editor

Cask Marque was formed 25 years ago to improve the quality of all beer in pubs and bars as well as championing cask ale.  It has 60 qualified assessors carrying out 22,000 visits a year.  There are 8,000 pubs with the Cask Marque award.  These pubs have two unannounced inspections a year and also have mystery drinker visits based on consumer feedback.

The company works closely with CAMRA, BBPA, SIBA and UKH to champion pubs and is very involved in setting standards on beer quality within the industry from brewery to glass.

Cask Marque has a training department delivering cellar management tuition in a pub as well as breweries nationwide.

The consumer has a 62% awareness of the Cask Marque plaque and 84% within the 25-35 year olds (YouGov 2022) due to the  CaskFinder app which is used 60,000 times a month to find Cask Marque pubs and includes the World’s Biggest Ale Trail.

Click here for a copy of the Beer & Cellar Hygiene – Audit Form

For more information on Cask Marque do contact:

Paul Nunny – Director

07768 614065

Helen Sykes – Operations Manager

01206 752212

Annbel Smith – Head of Training

07920 058500

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