Saturday 14 December 2013

A fresh idea

I’ve posted in the past about how many pubs seem to stock more cask beers than they can realistically turn over, resulting in a distinct risk of encountering stale, past-its-best beer. I’ve had a couple over the past month in pubs you would expect to do better that were almost on the turn. The thought has occurred to me that an obvious answer to this problem would be to display on every pumpclip the date when the beer was put on sale. So it was interesting to see this proposed recently in the comments on Tandleman’s blog.

Obviously it’s never going to happen, as it would expose just how long many beers were left on sale, but it would certainly give pubs a rocket up the backside to ensure they matched their range to the actual demand. And maybe pubs could offer a discount once beers had gone over three days old. If it led to fewer beers on the bar then so be it – quality should always trump choice.


  1. My local has four cask beers but could probably support six, or even 8. Three constant beers and one guest. Rarely does even a kil last much more than a day.

    Moving up the road a bit to a pub that does have six beers but nothing like the turnover, and it's pot luck as to the quality even when it's busy. An indicator would be great for both pubs - the first, to see just how fast the beers sell, the second, to see how much it doesn't!

  2. What is needed is some method of increasing the life of cask beers. I am thinking along the lines of replacing the air over the beer with an inert gas such as nitrogen or CO2

  3. Hmm. You could call such a thing a 'cask breather' and hope that consumer organisations such as CAMRA supported its use!

  4. CO2 is not inert, and nitrogen on its own isn't particularly cheap.

  5. How many punters and what criteria of punters would be attracted to a going off slightly vinegary but cheaper pint? Ummm.

    Doesn't really fit in with promises and images of fresh produce & quality.

    Probably why restaurants have never had an "On the turn tuesday" where all the grub is half price because it's on the turn.

  6. It depends on the beer. Some beers only reach their peak after breathing for five or six day. Some beers start to lose their essence after two days of breathing. I'm not sure that all customers would understand this. But I agree, many pubs have far too large a range for their turnover. Three or four days is the ideal in general.


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