Cellar Equipment

One very grey area is the cellar equipment which is normally never listed. When you buy a pub there is never any mention about the ownership and with a freehouse you assume it is yours and in a dispute over ownership I would refer the matter to the vendors.

What normally happens is that company supplying the beer and cellar equip and maintain the cellar equipment. If you decide to change suppliers the maintenance and theoretical ownership transfers to the new company by an agreement among themselves, unfortunately this is never shown on the deeds or the fixtures and fittings and can lead to some confusion.

Cellar Refrigeration

A major thing that they do not take responsibility for is the actual beer cellar cooling system (cellar refrigeration). The Python System and on line beer coolers etc are down to the supplying company. So if your cellar refrigeration packs up it is down to you. Most of these systems are large noisy and costly to run. If you can reduce your cellar size with the aid of insulated walls etc. some very inexpensive air conditioning units are now being used; they are also much cheaper to run. Avoid having any other electric appliances like deep freezes, fridges etc in your beer cellar, unless they are curtained off by a plastic or insulated barrier from the area that your cellar cooling operates in. The heat generated in a confined space by these appliances working against each other can cost a fortune in electricity, it also shortens the life of the refrigeration units though overwork.

Cold Storage

If you have a large beer cellar, and the temperature is down to 4-5 degrees, which the majority are these days, you can store certain fresh food stuffs (e.g., fruit and vegetables) there depending obviously on the cleanliness and the viewpoint of the local Public Health. Avoid storing, garlic, onions, mushrooms and strawberries in a beer cellar; they are reputed to affect the flavour of real ales, which would make sense since real ales normally requires fresh air to be drawn into the barrel in order for it to be pumped to the bar, whereas lager type beers work of gas pressure and are permanently sealed.

Suspect activity in the cellar

If you ever see a very large pair of Stilsons (spanner) in a beer cellar or similar as I did on one occasion, be suspicious. The landlord was duly prosecuted for removing the tops of canned beer and watering the beer down. This is a highly dangerous exercise since the barrels are under extreme pressure even when not connected to the gas lines and is to be avoided at all times. It is possible to release the pressure in emergencies and you need instruction from the fitter on this. Once the pressure is released the top of the barrel can be unscrewed. I have very occasionally had to do this when the top of the barrel had been damaged on delivery.

Avoid it at all costs, one licensee managed to release the top without releasing all the pressure and he ended up with a hole in the ceiling.

Alliance Online Catering Equipment – suppliers of Pub and Bar Equipment to the UK trade.

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