A Hertfordshire pub has again been honoured for its exceptionally high quality real ale, with the prestigious Master Cellarman of the Year award from London brewer and pub retailer Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC.
Run by manager Bryan Walsh, The Harpenden Arms received the award after excelling in every area of quality control from cellar to glass, and impressing judges, including Fuller’s Head Brewer John Keeling and distinguished beer writer Des de Moor. The Harpenden Arms, and Bryan in particular, is no stranger to the awards having also won the title in 2008.
“It’s an amazing honour to receive one of these awards, but two in four years is something special,” said Bryan, who has been with Fuller’s since 1998.
“We work really hard at The Harpenden to make sure each pint is at the best quality possible, and it’s great to be recognised in this way.”
“But it’s a real team effort, so I’d like to thank everyone at the pub because it’s not just the quality of the cellar, it’s also about the quality at the bar and service that you receive.”
During the rigorous quality checks, carried out by the Fuller’s Beer Quality Team, cellar hygiene and dispense equipment are thoroughly inspected, as well as samples of beer taken away for analysis, to ensure the customer is being given the best of the best.
“It’s such a pleasure to give this award to a person who lives and breathes cask ale,” said Fuller’s Head Brewer John Keeling, toasting all the finalists with a pint of London Pride.
“When you visit a Fuller's pub which has been awarded Master Cellarman status you can be safe in the knowledge that the beer they serve is in the best possible condition; just as it is when it leaves the brewery gates. Even more incredibly, all of our eleven finalists this year received top marks during the judging, showing how high the standard is.”
The Master Cellarman of the Year award recognises consistently outstanding cellar quality in Fuller’s pubs, with managers and tenants needing to sustain a score of at least 96% across four visits from Fuller’s Beer Quality Team throughout the year to be named as finalists for the grand title.
Fuller’s offers in-depth cellar training courses throughout the year to provide pub teams with the necessary skills to ensure the company’s high quality of service is delivered in each and every pub in the estate, as well as to on-trade national account customers.
To date, 209 Fuller’s pubs hold the Master Cellarman badge of distinction (42 added since August 2011), which is displayed in all the certified pubs as a gong on top of the London Pride pump handle.
The second place Master Cellarman of the Year award went to Jason and Karen Tinklin of The Star Tavern, Belgravia (winners in 2010), whilst Angus McKean & Claire Morgan of The Red Lion, Barnes (winners in 2007), were named in third place.
Two other Fuller’s pubs also received special recognition at the prize-giving; Rachel and Robert Burrows of the Pointer Inn, on the Isle of Wight, were named Best Newcomers, and Julian Peters of the Fox & Goose, Ealing (runner up last year), received the Pride and Passion award for absolute dedication to cask ale.
The six other Master Cellarman finalists were: Kim Bibby from the Fox & Pelican, Hindhead, Tom Hayden from the Partridge, Bromley, Mark Crane from the Five Bells, Leighton Buzzard, Jill Cameron from the Mawson Arms, Chiswick, Steve Williams from The Holly Bush, St Albans, and Shaun Patterson from the Hind’s Head, Berkshire.