Opinion: Look at the bigger picture for beer

Related tags Good beer guide Brewing Brewery

The latest Good Beer Guide has had a bigger impact in the media than usual this year. And with the double whammy of pub closures and falling beer...

The latest Good Beer Guide has had a bigger impact in the media than usual this year. And with the double whammy of pub closures and falling beer sales, this is hardly a surprise.

I don't doubt that the beer duty increases and poor crop harvests have had a significant impact.

But as an industry we need to stop bleating about who is to blame and look at bigger factors. We have a tendency in the pub trade to find a scapegoat for all of our ills, rather than actually accept there is a more fundamental issue.

The problem for British brewing is that it is founded on the false economy of volume. Mash tuns have to stay full and drays have to stay on the roads for costs to stay down. And this requires large volumes of beer to be consistently sold. All this would be well and good were it not for the fact that we as a nation have been drinking less beer decade after decade.

Beer is no longer the fuel that drives our society along. How many regulars do you get in for a pint at lunchtime compared with 10 years ago? And what of the post-work pint? Men who 30 years ago would have gone to the pub after work are instead picking the kids up from school, cooking the dinner or, rather unfortunately, working through until closing time. Women who visit the pub are not drinking beer - mainly because of the incredibly poor job brewers have done of marketing their products to them.

Brewers are fighting against a tidal wave. In fact, the wave has already crashed down and done its damage. We are just left with the debris. What we do next is the key.

Related topics Beer

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