Soaps shun St George's Day

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Related tags: St patrick, St george, Beer

With reference to your front page article on soaps, there is one thing that really bugs me each year­ Every soap celebrates St Patrick's Day down...

With reference to your front page article on soaps, there is one thing that really bugs me each year­ Every soap celebrates St Patrick's Day down the pub, yet no pub (EastEnders being a major culprit given the attention they gave to Paddy's Day last year) will consider celebrating St George's Day. Each year we contact soap story-line editors and producers in a bid to re-address the balance but sadly to no avail. I feel really strongly about this and am happy to stand on my soap box about it (excuse the pun) if you want. We (on behalf of England's Patron Pint ­ Bombardier English Premium Bitter) committed to research with the Future Foundation last year and found that there is an additional £14m or more out there for the taking by our industry if pubs got behind St George's Day in the sameway they do with St Patrick's Day. Soaps need to lead the charge for our patron saint to be recognised ­ just imagine a good old- fashioned knees up in the Queen Vic on 23 April. Here's hoping somewhere along the line this will become a reality. Yours in hopeful anticipation. Sarah McGhie PR manager Charles Wells Brewery Bull only sells one beer Obviously the best soap pub is the Bull in Ambridge as portrayed in The Archers. The pub (and the programme) has been going for 53 years. All the village seems to use the pub (the other pub in the area, the Cat & Fiddle, having closed some time ago, with no-one seeming to know what is happening to it). However, why does the pub ­ which has been a freehouse since the mid-'60s ­ only seem to serve Shires beers (and only then the bitter)? In one episode, landlord Sid Perks said he "had to go and change the guest beer" but no-one seems to order anything other than Shires Bitter. What about all those microbreweries that have been set up in Borsetshire? Why doesn't the Bull run a beer festival (to raise money for the village hall)? We send Sid Perks a copy of What's Brewing every month, but I wonder whether he (or the producers) read it. I think a trip to Ambridge is on the cards. Iain Loe Research manager The Campaign for Real Ale Pump handles are so tatty The Rovers in Corrie annoys me every time I see the tatty ale pump handles. They are sooooo shoddy. Peter The Counting House Cornhill London An end to cask confusion As the person responsible for collating industry statistics at the British Beer & Pub Association, I would like to respond to Roger Protz's column in last week's MA and clear the air on the size of the cask ale market. Firstly, every year we get actual sales figures of cask ale from all our members, who account for 98% of UK beer production. This includes all the national brewers, all the regionals (except Sam Smiths), all the IFBB members and some of the largest micro-brewers. We simply add the figures together to get a total. This includes an estimate for the two or three non-members who produce more than a few thousand barrels. The total for 2002 was 2.6 million barrels. The latest SIBA report estimates their members produce around 500,000 barrels per year. Despite there being some overlap, even if you add the two numbers together, the total is 3.1 million barrels ­ or 9% of the UK beer market. Our figures are further corroborated by Climate Change Agreement returns on which companies specify annual cask-ale production. These figures are audited and independently verified in return for a tax rebate, and so are unlikely to be too far out! The great news is that it is certainly true that many IFBB members are increasing cask sales and doing very well, and that the rate of decline in cask-ale sales has slowed in the last year or two. But cherry-picking the best performers is not representative of the market as a whole. With regards to the CGA report, which estimated the cask market at 5 million barrels, this was not based on actual sales and made some wrong assumptions which, unfortunately, led to this vastly-inflated total for the cask market. Finally, whilst we do of course liaise with AC Nielsen, CGA, and other independent research companies, these companies do not undertake analysis of the beer market on our behalf. This is done by ourselves with figures supplied directly from members and has been every year since 1971. I hope this clears up any confusion for Roger, once and for all. Andy Tighe Research & analysis manager British Beer & Pub Association

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