Shining a light on sunshine pints

Quality and consistency are essential to make the most of beer this summer

July and August are traditionally the perfect time of year for pouring a pint and for some customers the quality of draught beer on offer will be a key factor in forming their opinion of a pub.

Meeting customer expectations could pay dividends, according to brewers, who stressed the importance of maintaining high quality at the taps.

bartender pints

Gordon Muir, brand manager for Belhaven, said that a well-served pint “has always been at the heart of the pub experience”, adding that operators who get their draught offer right “can lock in the loyalty of their customers to ensure a good summer season”.

Nicola Samons, marketing manager for Guinness at Diageo, highlighted how important the quality of a venue’s draught beer is to customers.

“We know that consumers associate a quality pint with a quality pub and research has told us that 80% of male drinkers believe getting the quality of serve right is more important in draught beer than in any other drink category,” said Samons.

If the weather holds up, publicans can expect more than a few consumers coming out for a pint, and Hugo Mills of Molson Coors reckons getting quality right “will undoubtedly make things easier” during busier periods.

“A good starting point for bar owners can be something as simple as branded glassware, which is essential to a quality serve and can also complement the taste of the beer,” said Mills.

“The perfect pint, in the perfect glass, is the sign of a quality product.”

Warm weather may bring opportunities for beer sales, but it can also present challenges in the cellar. Mills warned that temperature regulation in the cellar during the hotter months is a key factor in serving a quality pint.

“Operators should make sure that their cellar temperature is kept between 11 and 13 degrees, checking the temperature regularly and trying where possible to keep cellar cooling on,” he said. “This ensures that the beer is kept nice and cool to prevent unnecessary wastage from fobbing.”

Sam Rhodes of Miller Brands agreed on the importance of quality when serving draught beer, and reminded operators to keep to their cleaning schedule even in the busy summer months.

“To guarantee consistently good quality beer, it is important to make sure that outlets regularly clean draught lines to deliver a great tasting pint every time,” said Rhodes.

And if an outlet gets beer quality right, then it should shout about it.

Rhodes said beer is often “under featured” on menus when compared to cocktails.

“It’s important to give the relevant space and where appropriate provide style and flavour notes and suggested food pairings,” he said.

Matt Munro, on-trade sales director at Wallaces TCB, agreed that publicans should be promoting their beer.

“Two simple ways in which operators can promote their draught offerings are by making effective use of POS materials, which visually stimulate choice, and by ensuring all staff are well-trained, approachable and knowledgeable about the products they’re serving,” said Munro.

Munro said publicans should “take advantage of the POS items offered to them by brewers and wholesalers” to make sure their offer is visible.

“That perfectly poured draught pint should always be matched with clean, correctly branded glassware,” he said.

While point of sale may prove important to promoting draught beer, Isla Mercer of Lerwick Brewery suggested that a pub’s staff can be key when it comes to enticing customers to pick up a pint.

“Having staff who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the drinks available is really important in promoting draught beers,” said Mercer.

“Being able to suggest drinks to customers based on their preferences is a great way to influence their purchases.”