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New Report Reveals Which UK Pubs Serve the Dirtiest Pints

The Beer Quality Report from pub inspectors Cask Marque has exposed the establishments serving pints from unclean draught beer machines.
Photo via Flickr user Al.Reid

You might think your local is pretty decent. The carpet doesn't stick to your shoes as you walk through the door, there's no aroma of wet dog, and the jar of salted peanuts on the bar looks (fairly) fresh. Besides, it serves an alright pint and that's all that matters.

But have you ever thought about how clean the beer lines that pump your Carlsberg from the keg, through the tap, and into your glass really are? Of course not, which could be why, according to a new report, you're probably drinking dirty pints.


Compiled by pub inspectors from Cask Marque and released last week, The Beer Quality Report claims that one in three pints served in British pubs come from beer lines that aren't cleaned regularly, making them breeding grounds for bacteria and mould. Overall, the report says, low quality beer is the result poor cleaning practices in 58.8 percent of British pubs.

Cask Marque's report—which aggregates data collection from 220,000 smart devices attached to beer taps, 750 Cask Marque accreditation reviews, and 22,000 visits from researchers—also exposed the areas of the UK in which pubs are most likely to scrimp on the scrubbing. The South West might be famous for its cider but according to Cask Marque, the pipes pouring that scrumpy are probably dirty. The report found that across draught cider, stout, lager, and ale served in the region, an average of 40.8 percent comes from unclean beer lines. Wales was close behind for most dirty pints pulled, with 39 percent of its beer lines falling short of good hygiene standards.

Regions in the North, however, topped the table for the cleanest pumps. The North East scooped first place with only 29 percent of beer lines flagged as dirty, while the North West and Yorkshire followed in the top three with just 31.3 percent and 31.6 percent of pubs found to have unclean lines respectively.

According to the report, pubs may be skipping cleaning duties to save money and beer wastage. But Paul Nunny, Cask Marque's director, told trade publication The Morning Advertiser, that customers wouldn't stand for low standards.

Nunny said: "Consumers today expect good retail standards and this has added to the demands on the pub. We have now got a lot of fast food outlets that are competing with pubs and so are coffee shops, only their standards are higher and pubs need to catch up. But that's not to say that there aren't pubs out there with higher standards than their competitors."

With baristas snapping at bartenders' heels, it might be time for them to clean up their pint-pouring act.