Around 2 years ago the largest of these multinationals decided that their machine could no longer be supported at our establishment. They made excuses about our private water supply damaging the machine. In truth I imagine that the combination of low throughput and our remote location added up to it not being commercially viable.
This was the start of a long downhill road for our relationship with multinationals at my pub.
We started to stock large plastic bottles of cola, made by the same notorious multinational. PET bottles, as they are known in the trade. We also stocked lemonade and soda in the same way. It's tacky and really, really not like us. After a while we discovered Fentimans drinks. They make a nice range of quality soft drinks, not cheap but good. We decided to ditch the large PET bottles and go completely with Fentimans, but that left a gap in a product range for soda.
Without a machine to deliver gassed up water the only real option was individual bottles of sparkling mineral water. They are a little more expensive than the carbonated tap water, but hey, we've not got that option anymore. This does make lime and soda a little expensive.
To be fair though, what person who has any level of decernibility chooses lime and soda as a drink? Lime cordial has probably never had any association with real limes. It certainly tastes like rubbish to me. This is part of the populace homogenisation of pub culture that in turn is part of the trade's downturn.
After much tribulations with people asking for lime and "just tap water" and then complaining about the price I finally stopped stocking lime cordial. It's become something of an obsession now. Crisps, chocolate and coffee; lager, fizzy drinks and fruit juices all have to be quality products. Cordial just had to go.
You may think I'm crazy. My suspicion is that you are right. Many people don't get what we do here, but the proportion that do are worth it. After all, if I work the hours I do, without a day off, I'm damn well going to stock a range of products I believe in and insist my customer base believes in it too.
And don't get me started on Shandy.
I had two Dutch people in today, they had an orange juice and a still water, not "just tap water". We never have problems with foreigners. We probably conform to the continental café bar model in some ways.