Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Crystal bollocks

The New Year is often a time for looking forward to what the next twelve months are likely to bring. Now, I have to say I have a rather mixed record on predictions having, for example, greatly overstated the extent to which brewers would re-jig their beer ranges in response to the 2.8% and 7.5% duty thresholds introduced a couple of years ago, and believing that two-thirds-pint “schooners” had actually more than zero chance of being widely adopted.

However, I did get it right with the strength of Old Speckled Hen, as it has recently been cut to 5.0%, if not to 4.8%. And a couple of years ago I indulged in some wishful thinking, none of which of course came to pass.

So, taking inspiration from Archbishop Cranmer, here are a few random but rather dull thoughts about what we are likely to see during 2014:

  • Beer duty will rise by the rate of inflation. The duty escalator will continue to apply to all other drinks categories

  • Craft keg ales will not make a significant breakthrough into mainstream pubs, but there will be a modest expansion of British-brewed “craft lager”

  • Beer sales in the on-trade will decline by about 5%, those in the off-trade by slightly less, but still showing a negative figure

  • Overall per capita alcohol consumption will continue to fall

  • There will be more breweries in the UK at the end of the year than at the beginning

  • At least one popular beer brand currently sold at 4.8% ABV will have its strength reduced to 4.5%. “The taste will be unaffected”, its makers will claim

  • A prominent pub in the Stockport MBC area that nobody had imagined was vulnerable will close its doors for the last time

  • Some bizarre concept of which I cannot even dream will become the “next big thing” amongst railway arch brewers and gushing bloggers will claim that “everyone is brewing XXXX”

  • England will not progress beyond the quarter-finals of the World Cup (if that), thus denying a boost to the brewing industry and pub trade

16 comments:

  1. Ironically, my local "craft" bar has just given Freedom Four Lager the boot and replaced it with Amstel.

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  2. Definitely correct about England's chances in the World Cup, I'm afraid!

    Still, I expect the press will hype the team up as usual, and then lambast both the players and the manager when the predictable exit occurs. Let's hope it's not on penalties this time!

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  3. While no football expert I reckon England will do very well to get out of the group stage this time round.

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  4. Just think: there's a whole generation that thinks "England crash out of World Cup" is all one word.

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  5. I predict that Barista Espresso Stout will be returning to The Knott Bar.

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  6. I predict someone will be sick in a pub loo. And that England will beat Brazil 10-1 in the world cup final.

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  7. Well, I could have predicted that a drunk girl in a miniskirt will be pictured by the Daily Mail being sick in the street.

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  8. Could be that as per capita alcohol consumption declines, incidents of public alcohol misuse become more noticeable and easier to demonise - thus making easier to make claims about "Out Of Control Evil Binge Drink Britain"

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  9. Exactly - following the anti-smoking template.

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  10. I predict that the next BBC article complaining about the UK's "alcohol problem" will be illustrated with a picture of a middle-class, middle-aged couple sitting in a Michelin-starred restaurant drinking a bottle of claret each.

    I'm sure this will happen.

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  11. id cards for booze in bolton


    http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/barrow-booze-id-card-vision-is-revealed-1.1104913

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  12. Reading the headline, I thought you were going to treat us to a swipe at Holt's award winning "craft lager"!


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  13. All possible, I predict a Daily Mail binge drink headline will feature old men with beards leaving a CAMRA beer festival.

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  14. Mudgie, have you seen this in the Daily Wail? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-2532718/So-thats-spent-New-Years-Eve-dancing-table-undies-DRINK-THE-INTIMATE-RELATIONSHIP-BETWEEN-WOMEN-AND-ALCOHOL-BY-ANN-DOWSETT-JOHNSON.html
    Specifically this bit:
    "I also concur with her that ‘alcohol is where tobacco was 40 years ago’ and that when at last we fully accept the links between booze and breast, oesophageal and colorectal cancers, we can start applying to the drinks industry the lessons learned on tobacco control, concerning price, advertising and access.
    In the long run, it will be to everyone’s benefit if Prohibition comes back - says Roger Lewis, now teetotal but hitherto a proud drinker in the W. C. Fields class."
    This is from a review of a book about women and drinking written by a Canadian former alkie. The Roger Lewis quoted in the piece as if he was an expert is actually the bloke writing the review. This is, I think, the first time I've seen an outright call for total prohibition in this country, although I know there were similar calls in the 19th century. A sign of things to come?


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-2532718/So-thats-spent-New-Years-Eve-dancing-table-undies-DRINK-THE-INTIMATE-RELATIONSHIP-BETWEEN-WOMEN-AND-ALCOHOL-BY-ANN-DOWSETT-JOHNSON.html#ixzz2pMMzZddW
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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  15. Bill, yes, I've seen that and mentioned it on Twitter. Incredible bollocks even by DM standards - I may blog about it tomorrow.

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  16. Nostradamus was a beer blogger?

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