Friday, 5 May 2017

Reduced to clear

If you see a product on special offer, it will usually be a good buying opportunity if it’s something you actually want. However, for perishable goods, the benefit may be more questionable, and that particularly applies to cask beer.

On New Year’s Eve last year, I accompanied American visitors Dick and Dave Southworth on a brief tour of some of Stockport’s pubby delights. We went in the Red Bull, where Hartley’s Cumbria Way was on the bar at the bargain price of £2 a pint. I was doubtful, but one of them was tempted, only to receive, as I could have predicted, a glass of beer that wasn’t off as such, but distinctly tired, stale and lacking condition. The standard full-price beers, though, were fine.

Later in January, Reading CAMRA luminary Sir Quinno and his missus made a fleeting lunchtime visit to Stockport, which they had never been to before. After a swift half in the Crown, we headed uphill to the Armoury, where again one beer, I think Robinsons’ outgoing seasonal, was available at a reduced price. Once more, one of them was tempted, and ended up with a lacklustre pint, while the standard beers were in good nick.

Realistically, cask beer is only going to be reduced if it’s getting past its best and the pub is struggling to sell it, so, however attractive the price may seem, a cut-price offer will rarely be worth the risk. The only possible exception is particularly strong beers that are likely to keep better and may be still be palatable even if they have acquired a somewhat vinous character.

13 comments:

  1. It depends on the reason the for sale, though what you describe appears to be an end of life clearance. Even so they are making an error in maintaining their reputation by selling produce that is off. The deli chickens may be sold cheap at midnight in Tesco, but they will stay fresh in your fridge. You'd remember the bad pint more than the £1 off, I'd guess.

    I have been in pubs & clubs where products were being promoted. Usually keg brands as they have marketing budgets. The free pints were welcome and any free lager themed t shirts are good for attending CAMRA beer festivals.

    Clubs can often receive free kegs for promotion and if you see a £1 pint offer in a working mens club there is rarely anything wrong with it and most of the regulars will be ploughing through it until its gone.

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    1. There's a fairly obvious difference between promotional offers and selling off short-life stock. I can't recall ever having seen a cask beer on promotion, to be honest. If it was I'd probably conclude it was dodgy anyway...

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  2. I struggled to remember beers clearly labelled as discounted, bar that one in the Red Bull and the unsold stock from pub beer festivals (though that tends to be discounted across all the beers).

    How's that CAMRA campaign to show the day the beer came on going ?!

    MT

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  3. You have an excellent memory Pubcurmudgeon. Dick is still bitter about that pint.

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    1. I thought it would be rude to warn you off it in front of the bar staff!

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    2. The story is worth it!

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    3. Yes, I am still bitter. I missed out on a Wizard. Never again for me.

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    4. It was best you did not say anything in front of the bar staff. I would have learned my lesson at some other time.

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  4. OK, but a publican might realise that a beer is going to go off before he sells it all, so he discounts it. He is not discounting it because it is substandard but to sell it while it is still good.

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  5. Syd Differential7 May 2017 at 08:01

    I work on the principle that all landlords are robbing bastards.Obviously not all of them are but most don't disappoint.

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    1. if this was another medium of social media I'd click like on that.

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  6. Imagine a restaurant having a special offer deal not to try and drum up trade on a quiet time but to shift rotting ingredients. Don't think they'd be in business long.

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  7. I imagine they do frequently and what most people cooking at home for themselves do, shove it all in the slow cooker and call it soup,stew or curry of the day.

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