CAMRA is, not unreasonably, carrying out a review of the scope and content of its flagship publication, the Good Beer Guide, with a view to implementing any changes in the 2020 edition, published in September 2019. However, one phrase in the information document about this, included almost in throwaway fashion, rather jumped out at me:
Recently, with the increase in pub quality, branches in some parts of the country are finding it more difficult to select just a few pubs for their allocation.Now, with the rise of micropubs and craft beer bars, there has certainly been an increase in the number of pubs specifically setting out to provide a beer offer of interest to enthusiasts. But it struck me as a drastic leap of the imagination to extrapolate that into a general “increase in pub quality”, however defined.
We have continued to see a steady stream of insensitive refurbishments and conversions to a food-dominated format, plus of course a pub that has closed can never be as good as it was before. And increased beer ranges all too often work against beer quality, with slow turnover and tired beer becoming a growing problem.
So, I thought I would ask the question of the blog readership. While on balance they did tend to feel that pubs had got better, by 41% to 36%, it certainly wasn’t the obvious given that the CAMRA document lazily assumed. And nearly twice as many felt that pubs had got “much worse” than “much better”.