How To Pour The Perfect Pint

We spotted this article and thought it might be of use for any pubs or clubs training new staff. We are no experts ourselves in pouring pints, although a few of us at Comrie enjoy drinking them :)  We are having mixed reports from our customers about how trade is coming out of lockdown. Our trade generally is down but we can see that week on week it is picking up. So looking at it all positively we are hoping to be back to pre- Covid levels by Christmas. As before lockdown and most popular machines in Pubs and Clubs is the Digital fruit Machines.

As we all know, the best beer to be had in a pub doesn’t come out of a bottle.. Instead, most pubs have a variety of beers on tap, usually including both popular beers produced by small corporations as well as local specialties. A well poured pint of beer tastes nicer than one that’s just been chucked in the glass, and so the technique of the barperson is paramount.

  1. Select your Glass
    It is important to ensure the beer is served in a clean glass, without finger-marks, smudges or residual water from the washing process. It’s especially important to remove grease, as this destroys the head. Recently washed glasses are also undesirable because they are likely to be too warm. If possible, choose a glass with an appropriate logo on it – every little touch helps. After all, you’ll probably get a funny look if a customer orders a Fosters and a Guinness, and gets a Fosters in a Guinness glass, and a Guinness in a Fosters This is particularly important if the order contains two or more similar looking beers, such as Stella and San Miguel.

In general it is safe to assume that customers will be happy with a straight glass, but they may ask for a mug or jug, in which case you should give them their beer in a squat heavy glass with a handle. Certain regulars at some pubs defy all expectation, and you just have to learn what strange object they want their beer in. Although it is illegal to sell draught beer in measures other than 1 pint or 1/2 a pint you should only worry out this if there’s a policeman actually in the pub.

  1. Approach the Pump
    Here’s where things get more complicated. For a stout, such as Guinness or Murphys you can just place the glass on the drip tray. With lager or bitter that’s on tap you should hold the glass at about 40 degrees to the vertical just under the tap. Real Ale, or anything else that comes out of an actual pump follows a similar principle, but due to inherent foaminess you should probably make sure the pump nozzle is well inside the glass. It’s quite a simple concept to understand: the further the beer falls before it strikes the glass, the more foam will be created. Since in most cases you want to minimise the head, you must also minimise this distance.
  2. The Pull/Pour
    1. Lager (e.g. Fosters
      For a pint with minimal head it is a simple matter of holding the glass at its angle, and opening the tap. It’s important to fully open the tap, or it will splutter, and there’ll be too much foam. As the glass begins to fill you can straighten it up to the vertical. Flip the pump back up just as the beer fills the glass. If a little head is desirable, there are two alternatives. Either you can be a bit more careless in the pouring, allowing foam to be produced, or with some taps you can flip the tap up when the beer is about half an inch from the top, and then press a button on top, which forces out beer mixed with air, creating a head.
      According to 409 some pumps do this when pushed away from the user. pjd also notes that some lagers such as Carling require far more care than others.
    2. Real Ale, or pumped Bitter (e.g. Abbot Ale
      Rather different in technique, this is the only sort of pint that is actually “pulled” from a pump. Grasp the top of the pump, and pull down strongly and smoothly, whilst minimising the distance between glass and pump nozzle. After the first pull, ensure the nozzle is clear of the beer surface before returning the pump to an upright position. If you don’t do this then you will suck up the beer you just pulled! Pull more beer using a similar technique until the pint is full. It should only take 3 or 4 pulls to fill the glass. Do not stop pumping until the glass overflows, as the inevitable head will cloud your view of the liquid level. After pulling your pint, ensure that the pump is returned to an upright position.
    3. Bitter on Tap (e.g. John Smiths
      This should be poured in a similar manner to lager, but the characteristics of the beer generally lead to head being formed more easily. Down in the south of England you should try to minimise the amount of head formed, whereas northerners generally prefer their beer to have a little head. Creating exactly the desired quantity takes some practice unfortunately.
    4. Stout (e.g Guinness
      Although Guinness.com suggests holding the glass at an angle, as with other pints, it is safe to simply leave the glass on the drip tray, and open the pump up. Since you can leave the glass on the drip tray with the pump on you can save some time by dealing with another drink. When the glass is about 2/3 full flip up the tap, and leave the pint to settle for a minute or so. During this time the liquid should lose its cloudy appearance, and become black, with a white foamy head. When this has happened you can carefully lift the glass up to the tap, and fill it to the brim. Due to the thick head you should even be able to slightly overfill the glass. Place on the bar, to settle to perfection.

A Full Pint?
Since most beer glasses hold exactly a pint of liquid when full it is important to ensure that they are full to the brim. Some people don’t consider head part of the pint, whereas some will be annoyed if they don’t get any. The most important thing is to respect your customer’s wishes (which usually involve more head further north), and to not worry about pouring slightly too much beer in the glass, as a little bit of wastage to overflow is preferable to lost customers due to short measure. If a beer is left to stand on the bar, and as the head clears it is revealed that the customer has not been given a full pint you should offer a top-up, so long as the pint hasn’t been at all consumed.

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Long Live the Local Pub!

Long Live the Local Pub!

This is even more important now than in any other time, with what our local Pubs and Social clubs will be facing coming back from Covid19. Pubs and Clubs were the first to be hit and looking like the last ones to be allowed to re-open. At this stage we do not know the impact on our national treasures but I guess it is going to be a big hit without help from the government.

Local pubs keep communities thriving, pubs are under a range of tax pressures. 3 pubs a day close their doors for good!

Further information about the beer tax is below, however in the meantime, please sign the petition to Cut Beer Tax. You can do this here;

https://www.longlivethelocal.pub/

On October 29th 2018, then Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced a freeze on beer duty freeze in response to a 116,000 strong petition asking for a cut in Beer Duty. That freeze ends in February 2020 and current plans mean a Retail Price Index (RPI) linked increase is planned. The General Election means the Autumn Budget has been postponed to early 2020 so there’s still time to make a difference.

So why cut beer tax? The simple answer; in the UK, Beer is overtaxed.

The UK has one of the highest Beer Duty (tax) rates in Europe and is three times the EU average. The government collects £3.5 billion every year in Beer Duty, as well as almost £10 billion in other taxes on pubs and brewers. Today one in every three pounds spent in pubs goes to the taxman

Along with Business rates and VAT, Beer Duty is putting pubs under enormous pressure; every day pubs are closing their doors for good. And it’s getting worse.

The government increased Beer Duty in 2017 and froze it in 2018, with year on year RPI linked increases planned it’s likely that Beer Duty will increase by at least 3% every year for the foreseeable future.

The last time Beer Duty increased year on year was between 2008 and 2013 when the government put a Beer Duty escalator in place. The impact on the beer and pub sector was catastrophic, within 5 years there was a 24% decline in beer sales, 5,000 pubs closed and 58,000 people lost their jobs.

So now we need to fight.

Pubs have been at the heart of our culture for generations and remain one of our most valuable assets. The pub and brewing industries combined create jobs, encourage tourism, and most importantly provide a vital place for communities to gather.

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Don’t rely on luck for your pub lotteries

As we are already into 2020 many operators will be planning promotions and activities for the coming year.

Many will be holding lotteries and raffles in conjunction with events that they plan to hold at their venue.

A lottery is a kind of gambling which has the following key elements:

  1. You must pay to enter the game
  2. There is always at least one prize
  3. Prizes are awarded purely on chance

The Gambling Act 2005 contains strict controls on the types of gambling activities that can tale place at premises licensed for the sale of alcohol. Provided that you un your event with the strict criteria laid down by the act, it is possible for alcohol licensed premises to hold certain types of lotteries/raffles without needing any additional form of licence or permit.

Listed below are some key points to remember when thinking about operating a lottery or raffle.

Customer lottery/raffle:

  • Proceeds from ticket sales have to be spent on prizes (less deductions for reasonable expenses incurred, such as the cost of the tickets) Note that a customer lottery is not suitable for charity fundraising (you could consider a charity raffle)
  • The maximum value per prize cannot exceed £50. The prize can be cash, goods, or a mixture of both.
  • Advertisements can only be on the premises. There cannot be any promotional material available outside of the premises itself.
  • Tickets can only be sold to a customer when they are on the premises.
  • Every ticket must give the name and address of the premises and the price of the ticket. It must also state that the tickets are only available to customers of the premises and are non-transferrable.
  • Only one draw per seven days is permitted to take place.
  • The rollover of prizes is not permitted.
  • Children under 17 cannot take part.

Charity Raffle:

Must be provided as an incidental part of another event. This event does not have to be being held for charity, but you must adhere to the limitations as its operations.

A maximum of £500 can be deducted from ticket sales for prizes but additional prizes can be donated.

A maximum of £100 can be deducted to cover any reasonable expenses.

No rollover is permitted.

Tickets can only be sold at the time of the event.

If you require any further information, this can be found on the Gambling Commission website.

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Pubs committed to tackling under 18 gambling in face of Commission warnings

The Gambling Commission has called for pubs to take further action to stop under-18s from playing gaming machines – and the sector has already responded.

Over the past 12 months, the regulator has worked with local authorities and police to test compliance with laws in place to protect under-18s from the risks gambling can pose, finding that 84% failed to prevent it on at least one occasion. This is an issue already acknowledged by the BBPA and UK Hospitality, who last month joined forces on a new initiative to tackle underage gambling in pubs.

While recent figures are down from the 88% failure rate from a sample taken last year, the Gambling Commission said the rules for the machines are still not being appropriately enforced.

“The pub industry must accelerate action to enforce these rules. Pubs must take age verification on machines as seriously as they do for alcohol sales, and they risk losing their entitlement to offer machines if they do not” said the Commission’s Programme Director, Helen Rhodes. “The results last year were extremely disappointing, and we have supported local authorities in their action to raise standards. This included working with the providers of training to the pub industry to emphasise the legal requirements in training materials, a well as with the Home Office to work towards including materials on gambling in pubs in the curriculum for the personal licence holder course”

The BBPA and UK Hospitality are working with their members to produce an updated Social Responsibility Charter for Gaming Machines in pubs. The Charter incorporates a Code of Practice aimed at promoting collaboration and training to prevent underage gambling.

Core principles include collaboration across the sector to help address underage gambling, as well as offering support to staff to ensure they understand and meet their legal responsibilities.

Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, Brigid Simmonds said, “It is important for pubs to ensure that their gambling machines are not used by those underage. Not least because failure to do no could result in action being taken by local authorities to remove gaming machine entitlements, when they offer both entertainment and much needed additional revenue for over taxed pubs”.

We have recently wrote in all our sites to warn them to be on the look out for any potential underage trying to play machines. This can also pay dividends because at the same time you are keeping an extra eye on your machines to make sure no unfamiliar faces are trying to cheat them. this is something we have had happening over the last month, we will be posting more about this soon. If you are looking for the latest digital fruit machines in your pub or club please call Comrie today.

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Some Good News

Pub numbers – finally – on the rise after decade long decline

For the first time in a decade, the number of licensed pubs in Britain is on the rise. The country has lost an average of over 700 pubs each year since 2010 – a trend of decline which at one point looked as though it might be unstoppable. But according to new data from the Office of National Statistics, 2019 has enjoyed a net gain of 320 pubs on the 2018 tally – despite facing a multitude of industry obstacles like business rate changes, economic instability, and a decline in the consumption rates of alcohol.

The reduction in the pub numbers over the last decade has been heart breaking, following change to both business taxes and alcohol duties. But hopefully these figures signpost a reversal of fortunes. Hooray

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Happy New Year For 2020

Happy new year for 2020 from all at Comrie.

What a great way to start the new year, to find out that the nations favourite tipple is actually good for us. Well we at Comrie will certainly be raising a glass or two, to our good health and the health of our beloved pubs and clubs :)

Don’t worry, be hoppy.. why beer is good for you

It is research well worth raising a glass to – beer can be good for our health. Scientists have discovered that some beers are bursting with probiotic microbes – bacteria and yeast credited with a host of benefits, from combating obesity to getting a better night’s sleep.

Examples include Belgian beers Hoegaarden, Westmalle Tripel and Echt Kriekenbier, which are rich in probiotic yeast. Unlike most beers, these brands are fermented twice – once in the brewery and again in the bottle.

The second fermentation increases the strength of the beer and creates a sharper, drier taste. Importantly for health, the in-bottle fermentation uses a different strain of yeast to the traditional brewer’s yeast/ This yeast doesn’t just convert the sugar in the grain into alcohol, it also makes acids that are poisonous to bacteria that can make us ill.

Professor Eric Claassen, a gut bacteria expert from Amsterdam University said: “You are getting a stronger beer that is very, very healthy. We don’t want to give people a licence to drink more beer. In high concentrations alcohol is bad for the gut but if you drink just one of these beers every day it would be very good for you. “

Research from the University of Nebraska in the US found that some bottles of beer contain up to 50 million probiotic or ‘good’ bacteria. Once in our gut, probiotic bacteria kill rival ‘bad’ bacteria linked to illnesses including autism and bowel cancer.

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Gaming machines and ATM’S – can they be located near each other?

Gaming machines and ATMS  – can they be located near each other?

There is a code of practice for gaming machines in alcohol licensed premises which can be found on the Gambling Commission website.

There is a specific code provision that requires gaming machines to be located in a position where someone who wishes to take cash from an ATM must cease gambling in order to so. There is no specific rule regarding the distance that must be between the ATM and the gaming machine, but the further apart you can position them the better.

You will also need to be aware that it is also a requirement for gaming machines to be located in a place within the premises so that their use can be supervised, either by staff whose duties include such supervision – including bar or floor staff or by other means such as CCTV.

On another point and just as a reminder –  once you have obtained a permit, check how long it lasts for because you are usually required to renew a permit and the renewal can vary between councils. This is for when you have more than two machines, otherwise pubs have a right to two gaming machines on their premises.

If you would like more information about fruit machines and the permits/license’s required please contact Comrie on 02476 249070

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Protecting the Young..

Protecting the Young..

A lot of work has been done to protect the young and venerable from playing gaming machines and rightly so. Fruit machines have not been allowed in takeaways, cafes or chip shops or other similar places where children have access to.

Pubs and social clubs are required to have their gaming machines either within sight of the bar or monitored by CCTV and staff to ensure anyone underage on the premises do not play the machines. The age of which to play these machines is 18. (Eighteen years old).

We own and operate two adult gaming centre in Birmingham and Derby, where our customers come in solely to play the gaming machines. Therefore we have gained a lot of experience of what machines people like to play. In our amusement arcades, we decided many years ago to have a 21 year old minimum policy. It keeps all of our regular customers happy and also makes it easier for our staff to spot any underage customers, as we all know young lads these days are over 6ft with beards growing but are only 16 or 17!

It does then bewilder me that with all this hard work fruit machine companies are doing to stop underage gambling, then the Government let 16 and 17 year old walk into a shop and spend £1 and up to £10 on a single scratch card to gamble. From the stories we hear it does not stop at that.

Fruit machines do get some bad press but with all the regulation in place, gaming operators work hard to ensure underage gambling does not go on in their premises.  These days to gamble on a fruit machine you have to visit a place with a licensed bar. Like a pub, social club, bingo hall and casino, or a registered gambling venue like an adult gaming centre.

This brings me to the story behind this blog. Whilst visiting the “real” Father Christmas in Lapland, Finland in December (and Yes, I was on the good list), I was amazed to see rows of gaming machines in corner shops and supermarkets.

As you can see from the photos the machines are next to the fridges, as you pop in for a pint of milk or a bar of chocolate you can have a gamble!

It just goes to show, that whilst we are a very liberal gambling country, we also do plenty to ensure the young people do not play gaming machines.

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Coffee Shops V Pubs

Coffee shops v Pubs – Frothy coffee v pint of beer

More than 2000 coffee shops have opened in Britain in just five years, with some towns now offering more places to get a frothy coffee than a pint of beer, according to a new report.

Between November 2013 and this month, 2158 coffee shops were opened by chain operators and independent owners, according to the new analysis by the retails intelligence firm, Local Data Company.

Meanwhile two pubs have shut for every new café that has opened in Britain in the same period. It seems the cup of coffee has become a cultural icon. People want a place they can go to, between work and home. For many of us, this is now the coffee shop.

It appears that it now socially acceptable to spend a significant part of the day in the coffee shop rather than the pub. You can sit down for a few hours with a group of friends or you can sit alone and get some reading or studying done. These days if you are caught drinking a beer by yourself at 2pm it is not as acceptable as a flat white.

The spread of increased numbers of coffee shops can be seen up and down the country and is unlikely to slow down. Experts predict the number of coffee shops will overtake pubs by 2030.

The Research and Policy Director at the charity Alcohol Change UK, said the rise in the coffee shop represented a cultural shift, with a decline in alcohol consumption among young people. The British Beer & Pub Association said its members were adapting, increasingly offering low-alcohol and alcohol free drinks.

So, it seems to be all change, the premium price that can be charged for espresso based coffee is key, as it can generate enough revenue to provide comfortable spaces that have proved so popular for socialising and work meetings. This just highlights to me a opening for pubs to offer quality coffee throughout the day to aim at these potential customers. Especially for people who are driving.

The one thing coffee shops can not offer is gaming machines (due to the law) and even pool tables or other amusement machines, more down to room. We are always saying it at Comrie – so many pubs and clubs do not have the latest machines on their premises, this means they are missing out on a lot of revenue. We have seen the revenue of our machines go up significantly due to the changes of the bookmakers machines, so don’t miss out. If you would like the latest digital fruit machines in your pub or club call us at Comrie today.

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The End Is Nigh…

End of free cash machines looms as contactless payments are on the up

Free cash machines could become a thing of the past, according to the consumer group – Which?, after it emerged that 1,700 ATMs were switched to charging in the first three months of this year alone.

Most of the ATMs affected are operated by Cardtronics, the UK’s biggest cashpoint operator, and the firm said it was poised to convert a further 1000.

Another major provider, NoteMachine, is also considering converting up to 4,000 of it’s 7,000 machines to fee. The company stated “we have always operated a free to use model wherever possible. However, unless urgent action is taken to reduce the pressure on ATM operators by reversing the interchange fee reductions, NoteMachine will be forced to begin converting ATMs to surcharging.”

The surge in fees comes as consumers switch to contactless payments for small purchases. There are currently about 52,000 free to use cash machines in the UK, BUT Which? warned this could fall by more than 10% in the coming months. Fees are at least 95p per withdrawal at the converted ATMs Which? has seen, and nearly a quarter of the machines charge £1.50 to £1.99.

Which? said that without regulatory action, the UK risked drifting into a no cash society that could shut some people out of paying for local good and services.

Digital gaming machines and fruit machines in pubs and clubs are suffering due to the lack of cash in peoples pockets as they use their card for contactless payments more and more. There definitely needs to be a change made so all machines can accept payment by debit card and keep with modern day payment methods. While there is talk about this happening, the UK is getting near and near to being a cashless society.

The UK is the 5th closet country to being cashless with Sweden leading the way (99 % cashless). With the country’s cash points disappearing we are being forced in to this situation and yet many industries are not ready.

 

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