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What's new?

What's new?
Pledges for my new beer book - Miracle Brew - are now closed. Book is out 1st June and available for pre-order here.
I've been accused of attacking cask ale. Here's what I actually wrote - decide for yourselves.
News about my next books!

Monday, 25 January 2016

If you think you're a pub and... (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

If you think you're a pub and you try to ‘up-sell’ someone by forcing your staff to ask ‘Would you like some crisps or nuts with that?’ every time someone orders a pint,

If you think you are solving the problem of bar staff motivation and retention by ‘empowering’ your zero hours, minimum wage, untrained staff simply by referring to them as ‘colleagues,’

If you advertise free WiFi but ‘free’ turns out to mean ‘free for 20 minutes and then you pay,’

If you pour a pint for a customer that foams over the sides of the glass so vigorously that you have to wash your hands after pouring it, but you expect your customer to pick up the soaking glass from its puddle, knowing their hands will get wet and sticky, but not giving a shit about that,

If you advertise ‘craft beers’ and offer Peroni or Amstel to those who ask for them,

If you refer to yourself as a ‘Beer House’[1], ‘bar and kitchen’, ‘cellar and eatery’, ‘Ale dispensary and hob’ or any other similar term because you think you’re better than a mere pub,

If you charge more than £5 for a pint of beer without being able to tell the customer why it costs that much,

If you think the brand is more important than the guv’nor,

If you have keypads on the doors to the toilets because you’re so paranoid about walk-ins using the loos without buying a drink that you’re prepared to humiliate your customers by making them come to the bar to ask for the code,

And if, the code secured, your customer opens the door to the bogs and reels back physically from the ammonia stench of stale urine burning their nostrils from urinals that haven’t been cleaned for days,

Then you don't have the first clue about what matters to the earth nor anything in it , and - which is more - you ain't no pub, my son!

[1] For example, in a train station such as London Waterloo or Paddington.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The British Beer and Pub Industry in 2016

Just before Christmas, The Publican's Morning Advertiser asked me for my predictions about the events that will shape the UK pub industry in 2016. They said I could be irreverent. This is a bit parochial if you're not close to the UK pub industry, but if you are, just call me Nostradamus...

After a slow start to the year, notable only for a combined team of scientists from CERN, MIT and NASA discovering the true definition of craft beer, things hot up when the AB-Inbev/SABMiller deal finally goes through. The new combined entity decides to cut to the chase and announces its purchase of the entire continent of Europe, with Carlos Brito declaring himself President. All beer apart from Stella Artois and Becks is immediately banned.

In a desperate move, BrewDog launches Equity for Punks X and raises $100 trillion for a hostile takeover. As President Brito is making his President’s Question Time debut in the House of Commons, James Watt and Martin Dickie drive a tank into the chamber and announce that the National Anthem will be replaced by the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen. The Daily Mail gets confused as to whether to launch a vicious smear campaign against BrewDog for being disrespectful and challenging authority, or Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to sing the punk anthem, and self-combusts.

Brito doesn’t go down without a fight and launches weapons of mass destruction inside parliament, but because they’ve been made with the cheapest ingredients possible, they don’t work properly. Chemical weapons hit the toilets, and from the green haze emerges the dishevelled figure of Greg Mulholland, wearing his underpants over his suit. Realising the chemical soup has at last given him the superpowers he craves, Mulholland dispatches Brito before laying waste to the nation’s PubCos, reducing them to rubble with his laser eyes and thunderous voice. Anti-PubCo campaigners continue to blame Punch and Enterprise for pub closures anyway.

Against the backdrop of a declining beer market overall, cask ale volume rises by 0.3%.