Dorset Brewer launches Academy of Beer
Palmers Brewery have set up an Academy Of Beer to give pub tenants and their teams masterclasses in fine ale.
The Academy was launched in Palmers’ hometown of Bridport in Dorset with a half-day training course for local licensees and key pub staff.
Palmers own 55 pubs across Dorset, Devon and Somerset, and six Academy sessions a year are going to be held in different pubs to ensure that all areas are covered.
Jayson Perfect, Palmers’ tenanted trade director, who worked previously as a barman, cellarman and landlord, said: “We were going to run the Academy in the brewery itself but then we thought, this is a course for people who work in pubs, so let’s take them to a working cellar and let’s talk about the entire process from the production of the beer to how it reaches the customers’ lips.
“What I want to achieve is the customers’ expectation of having a perfect pint – excuse the pun – every time.”
Palmers Brewery has also launched a best cellar competition, with pubs being meticulously inspected three times a year. Many are scoring more than 90%, and Academy of Beer courses are designed to drive the numbers even higher.
Head Brewer Darren Batten said: “We’ve invested a significant amount of money over the last 10 to 15 years on our cellars and the way we dispense cask ales. Every one of our 55 pubs is accredited with Cask Marque and this is a way of taking that work with licensees even further. It’s putting the message out to other key pub staff and their teams.
“It’s all about our passion as a brewer, about our licensees being proud of the products they sell, and about our customers being very discerning.
“Customers follow passionate people. You can’t sit there in a busy pub and say ‘I’ve done it, I’ve made it’ because eventually standards will drop and suddenly you’re not busy and someone else is.
“We have to be continually improving the service and the quality of the product.”
Christophe Dupuy, who took over last month as landlord at The George Hotel in West Bay, said: “We’re very proud to host the first Academy Of Beer and I think it’s a fantastic way of doing it, in a live environment. It’s been very informative, and I think it’s good for the industry.”
Jamie Smith, bar manager at The George Inn in Chideock, said: “It’s been very easy to take in and very beneficial all round really. I’ll definitely go away and feed things back to other staff so there’s common knowledge between us and everything always runs as it should.”
Victoria Winstanley, who works at The West Bay Hotel as a barmaid and waitress, was born in a pub. Her father worked as a landlord for decades.
Victoria said: “I started as a pot washer, then I came out front and that’s where I’ve stayed. Pubs are what I do, they’re what I’ve always done, but I’ve learned things today and I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s been interesting.”
Palmers Brewery Academy of Beer courses are devised and led by Jayson Perfect, Darren Batten, brewery operations manager Jason Hawker and technical service engineer Martin Abery.