It seems that Mr Darling's recent shenanigans with duty increases have got on the wick of the pub trade more than somewhat. Following hard on the heels of the annual price increases imposed by the brewers before the budget, (nice timing guys) comes Alistair's whopping 4p a pint duty increase, plus a drinks escalator. This will see duty rise 2% above inflation for the next four years.
A campaign has started to bar our dear Chancellor from every pub in the land. Copies of a poster can be found here and printed off as required. It is a good bit of fun with a serious message. No-one in their right mind believes that the budget increase had anything to do with binge drinking and everything to do with revenue raising, with its daft attack on pub goers (mainly responsible drinkers in a controlled and licensed environment) in favour of those who buy their booze cheaply elsewhere and then create a public nuisance. But you can't help but feel the trade needs to do better overall and that the main gripe is the Chancellor got in first, thus preventing increases from licensees.
Nonetheless Mr D's interference is unwelcome and the poster campaign will at least get the cause of pubs a little more publicity than otherwise, which isn't a bad thing. The trade needs to be much more imaginative in its response to the current anti drink fetish of the press and needs to do much more to attract customers. The pub trade still hasn't got the message that the "offering" has to be much better than it currently is in all but a minority of pubs. The current round of price increases simply puts this fact into a sharper focus.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, CAMRA Chairman and (local) activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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