Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Monday, 30 March 2009
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Thursday, 26 March 2009
"The BitterSweet Partnership conducted research of over 2,000 women to get their thoughts and found that there are very real barriers and myths that exist around women and beer."The significant result from the research was that there was little wrong with beer itself, only 25% of respondents wanted the taste changed. Most were happy with taste, it was image that was the significant factor.
- In control of drinking
- Health conscious
- Binge drinkers
- Strapped for cash
"The fact that for cocktail drinkers, the way their drink is served is the second biggest reason for choosing (46% compared with 7% of beer drinkers) suggests a need for the beer industry to offer alternatives to the pint glass."
"Looking at the experience in bars too, there’s an imbalance between the information available about wine and information about beer on offer. Around a quarter of women said that ‘they never know which type of beer to buy or order’."
Sunday, 22 March 2009
"I did notice that the thread regarding cask aspirators started with a whole lot of rubbish, but has resulted in an interesting discussion and put the issue back on the agenda for review at a CAMRA weekend away. A positive outcome which is a direct result of your blog post. You should be proud."Now I read that just before evening food service "I know all that" I thought, and disappeared into the kitchen to cook some food. But then the significance started to niggle at my brain. Did my post really have that effect? Personally I think a whole lot of other peoples views, including for instance The Beer Nut, has had a dramatic effect on this positive outcome. Indeed, a realisation by the majority that one or two individuals are probably talking out of the top of their head helps. Even if it was my post that caused this result, I can't take all the credit as there were others feeding me relevant technical information.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
“Oh there he goes again” I can here you thinking “another complaining post from the Woolpack Dave guy again”. Well yes… and no. Our business is very weather dependant. If it rains we get significantly less in the way of customers. If the sun shines it can be better. If we get a period of good weather we see a good increase in steady custom.
Last year we had a good spring and early summer. It was that good that our next door neighbour started to flap about our shared water supply drying up. That was in June. It feels like we’ve not had any good weather since, until today.
It’s Saturday, it’s been nice weather for a few days, we’ve had a few late bookings for the rooms and it looks like being a busy day
All we need this year is a good summer. I don’t just mean us, but the hospitality industry and the wider economy as well. Good weather puts everyone in a good mood, boosts confidence which can only be a good thing. In a recent industry poll weather was cited as the biggest thing that affects trade, over and above smoking. So here’s to a summer like ’76 and if anybody starts complaining about their garden needing watering, gag them.
As an aside, these blog poll things are fun, and also informative. I have commented on average beer consumption in a pub per person in the country being less than 2 pints a week. I am sure I can count on one hand the number of weeks, since I was, eermmm, say 17, that I consumed less than 2 pints per week. I am guessing that beer blog readers will show higher than average beer consumption.
Friday, 20 March 2009
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
The trade show was rubbish. A greater than usual number of accountants and solicitors and very little in the way of real hospitality related exhibitors. However, Black Sheep had a stand there. I had a nice chat with the guy on the stand, who gave me a taster of their beer. It tasted like, well, Black Sheep Bitter, which is OK I guess. He quoted the through put of the brewery at 72,000 barrels a year. OK, it's a little more than the Cumbrian micro capacity at around 20,000 a year, but puts things into perspective, I suppose.
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
I used to think that there might be something we could do to stop the problem of cheap booze in supermarkets. I used to be in support of a minimum pricing policy to stop the increasing differential between pub and shop prices. Price of beer in the supermarket increasing to the same as 'Spoons would result in the price going up there as well and so ripple through to the price ceilings. I do believe there is a reason why the differential exists, it's market forces.
Sunday, 15 March 2009
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Seehttp://forum.camra.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=85 for background
also see http://stonch.blogspot.com/2009/03/really-really-bad-idea.html
Oh and http://hardknott.blogspot.com/2009/02/toeing-line.html which is where it started for me.
Sorry about the video quality. I'll use spot lights next time. It was done in one take as I only had one bottle. I know, you can't see the bubbles, but they are there, honist.
Now make your own mind up.
Oh, I've just tried my kegged micro brewed fizzy rubbish. It's picked up enough un-natural carbonation now. It tastes bland and fizzy, just like I wanted it to, but it's about 10% the price of the Duvel shown here.
Some people think that us in the industry should not talk about dispense methods as it only distracts from more important things like the beer tie. Perhaps they are right, too many people who think they are experts on how beer is best dispensed actually know jack poo. Maybe they should just concetrate on drinking good beer and leave us to make and serve it, even if that does mean blankets of N2 (That was especially for TheBeerNut, in case he drops by) Good beer speaks for itself.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Monday, 9 March 2009
Sunday, 8 March 2009
I've been thinking quite a lot about the negativity that exists in the trade. It's certainly there. One commentator recently noted that the licensed trade can be worse than farmers for complaining about how bad things are. Although things are pretty bleak right now there are some good things if we look for them.
Whilst thinking about the positives I remembered a piece I wrote sometime ago that never got used. It mainly talks about pub food and the style that should be considered. I realise this is probably biased towards the remoter rural pubs. Town centre pubs have a different situation. I hate writing stuff that doesn't get seen, so here it is:
How to survive the recession - a guide for pubs.
Before the worldwide economic situation revealed itself, pubs and beer brewing was already under great strain. Put simply, the size of the market is shrinking; people are not willing to spend as much in pubs. To compound this problem the costs associated with running a pub are increasing at an alarming rate. This equates to a very simple outcome. Many pubs will have to close because they will not be able to make money. The current economic situation is simply making this worse.
Does this mean all pubs are doomed - are we all going to close? No, I don't believe so. There are many ways that a pub can mark out its differences and ensure that it builds a strong customer base. In our view this is the secret; mark out the differences. The way that pubs fail in the first instance is that the landlord tries to please too many people, running themselves ragged in the process, increasing costs trying to deliver a watered down version of what could be delivered.
Pubs that provide the bland, one size fits all service are likely to have problems unless the establishment footfall is captive. It is difficult for the landlord to say "sorry we don't do that" and watch the potential customer leave. Whatever you do though, some will not enjoy the experience, so deciding who you want in your pub and delivering for them gets you there quicker.
Sadly, the most important thing to consider is what style of food offering is to be provided. The size of the market for most pubs for just pure "wet" trade is small; and getting smaller. The smoking ban, health issues regarding drinking to excess and a significant reduction in drinking and driving have affected this trade. The main revenue for most pubs now is going to be food. So deciding what type of food is going to work best is the key to shaping a customer base. Trying to deliver too big a menu is often a mistake that is made. The overall quality will suffer and the style of operation will be unclear.
Fast, cost effective food will work in a busy pub. Where the pubs location provides a good residential customer base the trade will grow as people understand that value for money is provided; Volume provision for a volume market. Providing good quality, wholesome, honest, beer soaking food might be the route for developing a great pub.
But value for money does not mean the same as cheap. Quality, that demands a premium, can be considered good value to an increasing proportion of the population, providing that the quality promised is delivered. Looking at the numbers of potential customers and providing added value might increase spends per head, but this will be at the expense of footfall. If the establishment is unlikely to achieve volume then this might be a way forward. The result will be a more select establishment.
So where does real ale fit? I have long argued that top quality real ale fits well alongside food in the same way as a fine wine. Irrespective of the pubs food offering, be it fine dining or beer soaking, always provide the best real ale that can be found. Choose some beers that are not served in the pub down the road, don't continue to buy off the brewery if the quality is poor or inconsistent, and learn how to keep it in tip top condition.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
We all know that pubs are closing and this is of course a terrible problem we are facing. It does distress me though that What’s Brewing, and many other CAMRA publications are banging out mantras like “Stop 1 in 8 pubs closing”. How do they intend to do this? They intend to do this by metaphorically lying down in front of the demolition bulldozer.
The reason 1 in 8 pubs are going to close is that they need to. The industry is not viable as it stands. There is over capacity and under demand. Please CAMRA let the poor ones close and you’ll end up with a better industry.
I want CAMRA to succeed in achieving something. It would be better if the organisation worked with the industry for once. We’re all in this together and it’s tough, resisting a change that is inevitable will only alienate the industry that you want to thrive.
There might be things we can do to help but I do not believe the current CAMRA approach is one of them.