It's Cask Ale Week and hopefully you've got lots of lovely beers primed and ready to go on the bar, the cellar is in tip-top condition and lines are squeaky clean – but have you prepped your bar staff as thoroughly?
This year's 10th annual Cask Report was launched last week and – like the nine that came before it – made it clear that giving staff the tools to understand beer will do more to boost sales than almost anything else.
"Our research showed that fewer than a third of respondents said barstaff started a conversation about cask," said author of the report Sophie Atherton.
"It's a missed opportunity because when bar staff begin a cask conversation with the customer it results in 50 per cent of people ordering cask ale."
You can help your staff by encouraging them to taste the beers and by providing tasting notes – but be very careful about the language you use.
Saying a beer is "hoppy" or "malty" doesn't tell anyone much – staff or customer. So here's a list of alternative terms to help them describe flavours in beers:
Malt flavours: Breakfast cereal (Weetabix, Shreddies, Bran Flakes etc.)Biscuity (digestives, Rich Tea) Chocolatey (milk, dark, chocolate biscuits)Also: coffee beans, caramel, treacle, brown sugar
Hop flavours: Earthy (pepper, marmalade)Citrusy (lemon, lime, grapefruit)Tropical fruits: melon, mango, pineappleAlso: piney, resinous, pithy
And whatever you do – don't call a bitter a bitter...