Thursday, 6 August 2009

I Don't Belive It!

There, an exclamation mark in the title. Perhaps I really mean it. Abolish alcohol duty on 2.8% beer and below, why do these people really think that's going to make a difference?

Anybody that thinks that an abolition of beer duty at this percentage is going to save the pub industry really, really does not understand the pub industry.

It's bollocks.

Perhaps, when I have time, I'll tell you why. That will make the total number of posts I need to do add up to four. But today, the sun shone, and I had a lovely day with my kids while the pub ran beautifully without me. Tomorrow, I need to do some real work, GBBF favours returned to the family, but not yet the business.

60p reduction in the price of a pint? cloud cuckoo land mate. Alcohol free Coca Cola costs typically £2 plus a pint in a pub and there is a good reason for that. Go figure. Stop diverting from the real issues, please.

Blood is now vaporising with astounding speed. Sorry to those who might have expected a report on my trip to the GBBF etc, it's on it's way - this one just got me gobsmacked. But really, I thought pubs were about beer, perhaps wine or whisky or, if you have to, alchopops, not plain old pop.


Wurst/Whorst- Brewing Arts Instructor, CEO APRK said...

They might as well give it away at that alcohol percentage.

Jeff Pickthall said...

It's frequently observed that CAMRA footsoldiers seem only to want piss-weak beer they can drink a gallon of without breaking the bank. Now it's official.

Woolpack Dave said...

I'm going to have a better go at deconstructing the whole idea when I get time. The arguments about how daft it is keep coming to me. The one thought that is overriding in my mind is that it goes against everything I felt about Monday and Tuesday at the American Beer Tasting, the Guild Party and GBBF BSF.

Also, ambassadors for beer getting into bed with the Neo- prohibitionists? That's just wrong, ceases to make them good ambassadors for beer in my view.

Curmudgeon said...

"I'm going to have a better go at deconstructing the whole idea when I get time."

I've had a go here.

If people really were motivated by price to drink weaker beers in the pub, they'd all be drinking mild anyway.

Anonymous said...

2.8%? Surely that is shandy but with the lemonade replaced by water.


Paul Garrard said...

I really don't think this is one of CAMRA's best ideas, I fear.

Curmudgeon said...

While CAMRA continues to do lots of good work "on the ground", it seems that I'm not the only one who feels they've rather lost the plot in terms of national campaigning initiatives. Given all the pressures facing the pub trade at the moment, this is a complete irrelevance and regrettable pandering to the anti-drink lobby.

Norman said...

Have any of you actually tasted Pride 'n' Joy? Please try it before you start pontificating! Funnily enough, in rural Sussex we have to drive to pubs to socialise while drinking beer - and you can sink a couple of pints of Pride 'n' Joy without going too near to the limit, an important point in a county whose police force seems bent on harassing anyone driving a vehicle away from a pub.

It takes a hell of a lot of skill to produce a low-alcohol, full-tasting beer. While I take the point that this "People's Pint" isn't the brightest idea that CAMRA has come up with, Pride 'n' Joy exists for a purpose. The reality is that we can't always go out with a designated driver, especially at lunch-time. Aren't at least some of you concerned about the death of the village pub? Offering a low-strength beer gives the publican a chance of attracting people who would otherwise not visit. And on and on and on ...

Woolpack Dave said...

Pride 'n' Joy sounds like a fantastic beer. I've also produced low ABV beers - 1.9% being the lowest. They are popular with drivers, there is no doubt about that. They are not really quite popular enough to make it main stream.

To make full bodied beers at this strength is a challenge and if they taste really good the care and effort will probably make them more expensive, not particularly less expensive. Making good low alcohol beers is a worthy cause, but making price part of the reason is not sensible.

It's not low alcohol beers I'm objecting to, it's CAMRA's campaign on this one. The beer duty on a beer of this strength is really not the issue and nowhere near 60p a pint.

This one ain't the answer to the pub industry, in my view. Using the term "Peoples Drink" is an unfortunate term that does nothing to enhance CAMRA's image - again, to be fair, in my view.

Norman said...

Dave, it is fantastic and I've sometimes drunk it when I haven't been driving. Although I'm sure that you and all your readers trust your own judgement rather than that of the pundits, it's worth noting that Roger Protz included it in his book on beers to try before you die (yes, I know, another ridiculous marketing concept!)

On the one hand, I don't think we can criticise CAMRA for milking the GBBF for as much publicity as it can. It is way more dynamic and has had far more influence than equivalent organizations elsewhere in Europe (e.g. PINT in the Netherlands). On the other hand, its neurotic need to be noticed (perhaps inevitable when its name begins with the word 'Campaign' and its Calvinistic sense of its own purity has led it (and its members) astray more than once. And this is one of those occasions. Too much focus on the price of beer ignores the other reasons that people go to pubs.

Boak said...

Some very good points here - especially on the exaggeration of the amount of beer tax you'd save vs cost of producing something decent.

The Welton's is very nice though - really very full-flavoured. I would be fooled into thinking it was 4%.