Desert Island Brands: Beer

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To tie in with this special beer issue The Publican has commissioned exclusive licensee research with drinks industry specialists Box Marketing to...

To tie in with this special beer issue The Publican has commissioned exclusive licensee research with drinks industry specialists Box Marketing to find British licensees' favourite beer brand.

This was not an exercise to find the best-selling beers in British pubs - but the beers that licensees would stock if they had a completely free choice.

But many observers might say it may as well have been about sales - as the clear winner was Coors Brewers' flagship brand Carling. And in the top five we also find the usual suspects Foster's, Stella Artois, Guinness and John Smith's.

Some may find this lack of imagination depressing. When licensees have so much to complain about regarding the tie and beer prices, and they finally have the opportunity to choose anything they want, they go for the obvious.

But perhaps it shows that what concerns licensees regarding the tie is not the lack of choice but the price.

In fact, choice does come into it, but only in a limited way. Licensees want to be able to stock both Foster's and Carling - which of course many licensees who are tied to Scottish & Newcastle or tied to Coors Brewers might not be able to do.

What licensees want are brands that sell. Nothing more, nothing less. Sure, if you peruse the list closely you will see many of the wonderful micro-brewed beers that Britain has to offer. But the majority of people who run pubs want the brands that excite consumers and have the marketing budgets to back that up.

How the points were collated

Box Marketing called 500 licensees and asked all of them to name the three beers they would most like to stock regardless of tie, expense and difficulty to source.

They all named three, with their top choice getting three points, second choice two and third choice one.

The total scores are represented right. We have listed the top 50 beers in order with the rest grouped below.

The Top 50

1. Carling 508

2. Foster's 371

3. Guinness 231

4. Stella Artois 228

5. John Smith's 160

6. Tennent's 156

7. Carlsberg 150

8. Kronenbourg 1664 100

9. Beck's Vier 72

10. Peroni 61

11. London Pride 5512. Budweiser 4713. Greene King IPA 3614. Worthington's Creamflow 3315. Harvey's Best 3116. Belhaven Best 2917. Tetley Smooth 2718. Grolsch 2119. = Abbott Ale, Sharp's Doom Bar, Heineken 1922. Amstel 1823. = Carlsberg Export, Timothy Taylor Landlord 1725. = Black Sheep Bitter, Budvar, San Miguel 1628. = Bombardier, Woodforde's Wherry 1430. = Adnams Bitter, Wadworth 6X 1332. Staropramen 1233. = Coors Fine Light, Hoegaarden, Holsten Pils 1136. = Deuchars IPA, Bass 1038. = Beck's, Miller Genuine Draft 940. = Corona, Leffe, Kirin, Marston's Pedigree, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, St Austell Tribute 847. = Boddingtons, Copper Dragon Best, Old Speckled Hen, Otter 750. Courage Best 6

And the rest...

Five points

Brain's Bitter, Courage Directors, Erdinger, Kelham Island Pale Rider, McEwan's 80/-, Old Hooky, Rev James, Ringwood Best, Tiger Beer

Four points

Banks's Original, Betty Stogs, Bitburger, Courage Best, Desperados, Exmoor Ale, Franziskaner, Hobgoblin, Hop Back Summer Lightning, Moorhouse's Black Cat, Skinners Cornish Knocker

Three points

Barum Breakfast Bitter, Batemans Dark Mild, Brain's Hancock's HB, Caffrey's, Carling Premier, Castlemaine XXXX, Chiltern Ale, Cobra, Corvedale Dark & Delicious, Cotleigh, Cruzcampo, Enville Ale, Triple fff Moondance, Flowers Best, Fuller's Vintage Ale, Harp, Hooky Gold, Jennings Cocker Hoop, Jennings Sneck Lifter, JW Lees Bitter, Lancaster Bomber, Loddons Hoppit, Marston's Smooth, McEwan's Ale, Oakham JHB, Porterhouse Chiller, Stiegl, Theakston Best, Thornbridge Jaipur IPA, Thwaites Original, Warsteiner, Whitbread Trophy, Wye Valley Bitter, Yates Premium Bitter, Young's Special

Two points

Ale of Wight, Bad Elf, Banks Bitter, Batemans XXXB, Beaver Bitter, Chimay, Corvedale Norman's Pride, Doorborrtmunder, ESB, Felinfoel Stout, Früli, Harveys Old Ale, Hobsons Ale, Hydes Country Bitter, Jennings Cumberland Ale, Kasteel Cru Labatts, Meantime Pale Ale, Ossian's Ale, Phipps Ale, Porterhouse Oyster Stout, Red Stripe, Roasted Nuts (Rebellion), Salamander Pale Ale (U.S beer), Stones, Timothy Taylor Best, Tennents Velvet, Theakston, Wall Top, Whitstable Brewery Oyster Stout, Young's Bitter

One point

Adnams Broadside, Alton's Pride, Bass Mild, Corvedale Farmer Rays, Dartmoor Jail, Good Old Boy, John Smith's Cask, McEwan's Tartan Special, Moorhouses Premium Bitter, Murphy's, Pendle Witches Brew, Porterhouse Red, Ringwood 78, Ruddles County, Schneider Weiss, Sierra Nevada, Stargazer, Thwaites Smooth, Ufford White Hart Bitter, Weltenburger 1050. n

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