The remarkable bar manager of a Lancaster pub has been honoured for his imagination and expertise in selecting and promoting cask conditioned ales. Tom Wilkinson received recognition from the local Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) at a special presentation at the White Cross pub.
The branch’s coveted award for “Outstanding Services to Real Ale” has been made only twice before, to Gareth Ellis of Lancaster University’s Graduate Bar and to George Palmer, founder of Bryson’s Brewery. It is reserved for individuals who have made significant individual contributions to the production or promotion of cask ales, taking the distinctive real ale “message” to a wider clientele.
Tom, who has been at the canal-side White Cross for six years, has the responsibility for ensuring that the pub’s ten hand pumps dispense a varied and stimulating range of beers, which involves persistent negotiations with the owners, Enterprise Inns, to widen the choice available. And when on duty he can often be seen offering “tasters” to non-ale drinkers, part of his on-going efforts to win recruits to the real ale cause.
Presenting the framed certificate, Chair of Lunesdale CAMRA Anne Stewardson, said: “Tom’s passion for the product is reflected in the quality of real ale that he makes available. His weekly range, which always includes local or regional ale, is inspired and truly varied, with something for every palate.”
Accepting the award, which he said was “a real privilege,” Tom described his job as “a labour of love — making the weekly selection is something I relish.” He aimed for a balanced range of strengths and beer styles, often with “something a bit quirky” too.
He paid tribute to all the breweries involved, to staff at The White Cross for their commitment to high standards of service, to CAMRA for its “absolute dedication”, and to the loyal and appreciative customers. He had special thanks for boss and licensee Tim Tomlinson, who “instilled in me a passion for real ale in the first place.&rdquo