Thursday, 11 October 2018

The lines they aren't a-changin'

The publication of the annual Cask Report has prompted reflections on the state of cask beer from bloggers including Paul Bailey, Pub Curmudgeon and Pete Brown, particularly on the issue of pubs having far too many handpumps than their sales of cask beer justifies, leading to slow turnover and tired, off-tasting pints. The figures on falling sales come at the same time as a study showing that about a third of 16-25 year olds now don't drink alcohol at all, let alone in pubs.

Ideally, of course, a cask would be put on and emptied the same day, and failing that in 2-3 days. That gives us the following guide as to how many pints a pub should be selling a day to have x handpumps on the bar, assuming they're using standard 9 gallon/72 pint firkins, with the left hand column being the ideal, the middle one still acceptable, and the right hand one the absolute minimum (there will naturally be considerable variation between how fast different casks sell, and some less popular beers, especially in non-cask specialist pubs, should probably only be sold in 4½ gallon/36 pint pins, but the bottom line is that if you're not selling at least twenty-four pints a day, serving cask beer to your customers becomes a quality lottery for the people handing their money over the bar and a risk to your reputation as a business).


  1. Spot on.

    Any idea how many pubs of cask get sold a day in your local, whatever that is ?

    1. I stopped going in my local of twenty-odd years as during its transformation from cheap, smoky boozer to pretentious dining pub (knocking through the vault, removing the dart board, introducing a deli and ice cream counter) they increased not just the prices of the beer but the number of handpumps from two (bitter and mild) to five, and I got fed up paying over the odds for tired beer just so people eating pizza and drinking prosecco could admire the shiny range of truncheons on the bar.