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Stella Artois launches Draught Masters

Brewer forges partnership with Beer Marque

Stella Artois announces the launch of Draught Masters, in partnership with Beer Marque, to drive beer quality and premium experience across UK venues. Beer Marque is an independent accreditation scheme, recently launched by Cask Marque, to raise handling and service standards in bars across the country.

The brand is calling on outlets to sign up to its new Draught Masters accreditation programme in order to receive invaluable training to help boost quality credentials and drive rate of sale.

Seventy per cent of the drinks sold in bars are beer[2], so the quality of beer served to drinkers is vital to sustaining growth; 90% of consumers say that beer quality is very important or essential when choosing where to drink[3]. If bars don't get this right, it can damage the reputation of the venue, beer brand and brewer - ultimately, affecting the beer category as a whole. In addition to this, the majority (89%) of consumers in the US and UK make decisions based on experience over price or product[4] and are willing to spend more on premium experiences that are perceived to add value to their lives. This includes savouring a chilled Stella Artois with friends at their favourite bar.

Draught Masters is a new interactive initiative set out to educate bar staff on all aspects of the bar in order to overcome the issues arising through poor beer and cellar management. This will be done via training, accreditation and rewards. The end result for bars will be upskilled staff giving a better standard of beer service to customers, increased footfall, improved rate of sale and a boost to their reputation, as well as helping to grow the premium category to cater to demand from beer drinkers.

The programme has been launched in partnership with Beer Marque, a new accreditation platform from Cask Marque that provides a comprehensive five-star rating assessment; consisting of the testing of cellars, head size, bubble cling, pour, glassware and more. All of Beer Marques assessors are brewers or former brewers, possessing invaluable insight within the sector. As part of the Draught Masters programme, bars can sign up to the Beer Marque accreditation for just £95 (usually £195), with Stella Artois covering the rest of the fee.

Rory McLellan, On Trade Sales Director at Budweiser Brewing Group, adds, "Quality is of utmost importance to us at Stella Artois - with over 600 years of brewing traditions, from the recipe and our pouring ritual to our iconic Chalice, we take pride in considering and curating everything about a perfectly poured Stella Artois so that our distinctive taste can be savoured. We pride ourselves on delivering a level of service, and we want to ensure that everyone visiting a bar receives the same excellent experience.

"We have big ambitions when it comes to growing the beer category, championing our nation's iconic beer community. So, we've launched Draught Masters, in partnership with Beer Marque, to ensure a quality of service and a level of training across the beer and lager sector, in order to drive perceptions, rate of sale and footfall for our customers and community. We're the first brand to partner with Beer Marque and are passionate in pushing the beer quality agenda forward for the sector."

Paul Nunny, Director at Beer Marque, adds, "We're incredibly excited to be working with Stella Artois. We're just launching Beer Marque, so to start our journey with a much-loved brand that shares our values for excellence - a premium experience and top-quality beer serve - is invaluable.

"77% of consumers recognise Cask Marque as a sign of quality, and Beer Marque has been launched to recognise venues that meet our strict five-star rating against quality, presentation and experience throughout the venue and serve process. It demonstrates to consumer that they can expect a first-class experience from the venue - something that we know Stella Artois is equally passionate about."

If you're an independent pub or bar owner and feel you could benefit from additional training and support, visit http://www.draughtmasters.co.uk/ and sign up to Stella Artois Draught Masters.

Stella Artois' Draught Masters consists of four key components:

Draught Masters Website - launching June 2019
The Draught Masters website will be accessible for all outlets, providing simple video guides and graphics-based tutorials on the perfect four-step serve and other tops tips to improve beer quality and the experience for beer drinkers, helping outlets strengthen their premium credentials.

Pub and Bar owners (IFTS) can also find the subscription portal on the website and sign up to the accreditation scheme for a subsidised £95 where they can receive additional training and rewards.

Training - kits and training events - starting June 2019
Outlets signed up to the Draught Masters Accreditation scheme will receive a Premium POCM kit and training solution.  Two skimmers, two cups, a guide to the Stella Artois four-step pouring ritual and more will be included to help educate and elevate bar staff knowledge and consumer interactions.

In addition, outlets can benefit from bespoke and comprehensive training tailored to each customer's needs. Unmissable training events will be held for select customers, with a wide-ranging beer-focused curriculum to develop the in-venue experience for consumers; creating a positive impact on footfall and rate of sale.

Draught Masters and Beer Marque Accreditation
Once the training kits have been received and outlets have had the opportunity to put their lessons into action, Stella Artois and Beer Marque will fully embark on its accreditation scheme. This will consist of a visit from a Beer Marque assessor will visit a venue and outlets are marked on the experience provided to consumers - including serve and glassware - as well as cellars and range. The process is aimed to be a learning experience and beneficial for the customer involved to find out what they're doing well or could be improved.

Those locations that pass their first visit will be rewarded on the spot, consisting of a £20 Amazon voucher and will receive a Beer Marque and Draught Masters Accreditation plaque to proudly display in their outlet.

Those who that don't pass first time will have a second opportunity to redeem themselves. A consultant from Beer Marque will run through the process with the venue and offer tips and advice on how to improve so they are ready for the next visit.

Rewards scheme
Stella Artois know the power of an incentive when it comes to training a team; each bartender seen to pour the perfect four-step pour pint can win a £20 Amazon voucher on the spot.

Those who pass the accreditation will be put into a prize draw to win a surprise experience for the entire team. This will consist of an evening of complimentary food and drink for the staff as well as a full clean down of the entire bar to help boost team morale.

Above and beyond this, the outlet will be recognised with physical and digital Draught Masters assets that they can proudly display in bar and online and will receive a recognition of excellence with a Beer Marque accreditation. This honour recognises the quality beer serve and premium experience the outlet provides to customers.

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