Chris Maclean: Last week saw the publication of the 2010 Good Beer Guide

By Chris Maclean

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Good beer guide Public house Camra

This week sees the publication of the 2010 Good Beer Guide. I am delighted to say we are, once again in it. As explained in previous blogs I take a...

This week sees the publication of the 2010 Good Beer Guide. I am delighted to say we are, once again in it.

As explained in previous blogs I take a particular pride in delivering quality beer. Some people might, justifiably, think I am a little obsessive about it; perhaps to the point of being arrogant and pompous. They may be right.

My pride is based upon a belief that my beer is good.

My pride is only possible provided two things happen. Firstly sales must be sufficiently buoyant that my position is vindicated; that enough customers drink my beer without criticism. My volume sales support this. It would seem highly unlikely that I have simply stumbled upon a large body of idiots who drink my beer and are unable to discriminate good beer from bad. So volume helps.

The second thing I need is independent verification. The brewery send around a "beer quality advisor". His task is to identify pubs that need help in raising their standards. Routinely he visits but generally his comments are simple affirmations of what I know. I'd be alarmed if he raised genuine criticism. His isn't a really independent view.

However the group which holds greatest sway in this field of independent verification is CAMRA. This voluntary group have become a powerful voice in affirming, or condemning, the quality of beer in pubs. If you are included you become part of an elite cadre of licensees. You are the creme de la creme. If you are excluded you are part of the morass of other licensees. As I've argued before, if you are in the guide your beer is excellent and you have been judged by a wise, reasoned and capable group of experts. If you are not, CAMRA is simply a group of left-wing, vegetarian bearded nutters who know nothing.

For licensees like myself the existence of good, solid dependable trade plus the reassurance of independent evaluation from CAMRA reinforce my entire motivation for what I do. It gives me purpose.

Sadly this week I have learned that a licensee, and friend, has been dropped from the Good Beer Guide. He, like me, believes passionately in his beer. He runs an isolated village pub but unexpectedly the local branch has voted him out partly, its been suggested, because some members feel his beer isn't up to scratch and partly because there is a suggestion that area is over-subscribed with GBG pubs. He is, apparently, devastated. I've never had a bad (or even close to bad)pint there. He runs a great pub. I'm deeply saddened at his plight. I shall send him a "With Deepest Sympathy" card. I think he'll appreciate it.

The passion and the pride and the love and the care that goes into keeping beer is scarcely rewarded. When it is, you can walk with pride and know your efforts are worthwhile and appreciated.

When it isn't, life can all seem a little pointless.

Running a pub can hurt you in the strangest of ways..............

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