Sunday, 2 October 2016

A matter of choice

Although we have a lot fewer pubs than we used to, and we’re drinking a lot less, we’re often told we enjoy a much greater choice of beer. On a superficial level, with far more breweries and more individual beer brands, that’s a statement of the obvious. But, in practice, is it really so clear-cut?

“Choice” is rather like “Peace” as something you can’t really argue with, but for it to actually make a difference, people have to be in a position to exercise choice between different options for which there is a genuine demand. There is also an element of diminishing returns. Two beers versus one represent an infinite increase in choice, and four is twice as much again. But you can only drink one beer at once, and it’s doubtful whether an increase from 1000 breweries to 1500 makes any meaningful difference to the choice available in the market. We also frequently hear complaints about why there is any need for supermarkets to sell a hundred varieties of breakfast cereal.

Choice can’t be considered in isolation without also looking at the degree of market concentration. I’d say a situation where there are 200 products, and the top five command an 80% market share, in practice gives the consumer a lot more options than one where there are 2000 products, but the top five command a 95% market share. And that’s rather how the beer market has moved in recent years. Actual diversity is good, not just a long tail of products with tiny volumes.

There can’t be any doubt that there is far more choice in the off-trade sector, and that overall it is good news for the consumer. Both the number of brands represented, and the variety of beer styles, has hugely increased. The range stocked in the average supermarket would put to shame the cutting-edge independent off-licence of twenty years ago. Partly, of course, it is due to the overall expansion of the off-trade from 10% of the beer market when CAMRA was formed to 50% now, but it’s also a genuine widening of vision and possibilities.

In the on-trade, though, the situation is less clear-cut. There’s an obvious limitation in that most beer drunk in the off-trade is draught, and there’s a trade-off between choice and turnover. There have been plenty of complaints about pubs stocking far more cask beers than they can sell, and it can even become a problem with keg beers, as Wetherspoon’s seemed to find with BrewDog This.Is.Lager.

The keg drinker isn’t likely to feel much expansion of choice, as the various industry upheavals of the past twenty-five years have led to a far greater concentration on a limited range of leading brands. Many smaller-volume keg products, both ale and lager, have fallen by the wayside, and it’s no exaggeration to say that John Smith’s, Carling or Fosters, Stella, Guinness and Strongbow is now the default range for many bottom-end pubs.

For many drinkers, such as those in Broadbottom or Parr, the fact that most of their local pubs have closed down obviously deprives them of much choice in the on-trade. And the decline of the tied house system means that, often, it’s far less obvious exactly what you’re choosing between. Of course there were local monopolies or near-monopolies, but in plenty of areas many different breweries were represented, with distinctive beers and also often styles of pub. Nowadays, beer ranges often seem to converge into one.

It’s arguable whether the option of “ever-changing guest beers” really offers a meaningful choice to the drinker. If you don’t know what you’re going to find until you turn up, then how are you in a position to exercise an informed choice? In effect, “various beers” just becomes a single choice in itself. And being presented with ten variations on the pale’n’hoppy theme doesn’t really offer much variety. It’s like going to the cereal aisle and finding ten different brands of cornflakes.

Yes, of course there are more different beers available now, in a wider range of styles, and the average pub undoubtedly offers more than it did forty years ago. But, in the on-trade at least, “increased choice” isn’t a completely unalloyed benefit.

60 comments:

  1. Spot-on.

    If you want Doom Bar instead of lager, you'll find it within a few minutes walk of your house. If you want to try pretty much CAMRA's 100+ Beers of the Year (P.32 of the Beer Guide), I challenge you to find more than a couple of them in the whole of Greater Stockport today. Even finding top beer Cwtch in Manchester will take some searching.

    So your penultimate paragraph hits hardest. You turn up at the average Beer Guide free house without a clue what will be on the bar,faced by six or more beers of (often similar characteristics), and make a rushed choice.

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  2. I was considering moving to the old part of Harlow (a new town not far outside London) and used the CAMRA site to look at the pubs. Of the dozen closest, one was a McMullen’s house, one Greene King and the others all served Doom Bar and London Pride as their regular beers.

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  3. I often think that the best way to improve genuine choice in the British beer market would be to magically double the number of family breweries with tied estates in the 50-200 pub range.

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  4. I agree. Here in Devizes we are very lucky to have Wadworths quality ales. A very interesting range of seasonal ales too. Currently Farmers Glory at 4.4 abv. Very tasty ale !

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    Replies
    1. I was at Uni in Southampton more than 30 years ago and looked forward to when Old Timer was available over the winter. I got the mistaken impression that it was no longer brewed – either my fault or an omission when Wadworth updated their website. I think that they may have renamed it – (Old) Father Time - but that may have been a different beer.
      Another beer I particularly liked was Pompey Royal, brewed then by Whitbread but originally by Brickwoods; it is still in limited production by an independent brewer. I only knew it in one pub now long gone I believe. What is also interesting is that it was the only time I came across dispense by electric pump.

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  5. Choice can’t be considered in isolation without also looking at the degree of market concentration. I’d say a situation where there are 200 products, and the top five command an 80% market share, in practice gives the consumer a lot more options than one where there are 2000 products, but the top five command a 95% market share. And that’s rather how the beer market has moved in recent years. Actual diversity is good, not just a long tail of products with tiny volumes.

    Most interesting keeping up with this.

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  6. Wadworth Old Timer is available in Dec and Jan. It is still 5.8 abv. The last brew i considered the best in over 40 years of drinking it !

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  7. Choice between brands is largely uninteresting to your average punter, given that they couldn't tell the difference between a fosters and a carlsberg or a directors and a GKIPA if you put them in branded glassware.

    The choice that really matters to people is between beer styles, and in your average pub that has improved massively in the past 20 years. There was a time when your choice was a 2 indistinguishable lagers, a ropey old bitter (choice keg or cask if you're lucky), a Guinness or a fizzy cider. If you didn't fancy any of them, tough, because the pub next door had the same line-up, and indeed so did probably 80% of pubs in the country.

    Nowadays pubs like that are a minority. You can often go into a random pub and find yourself offered a choice of 10-15 different beer styles, and generally of a far better quality than that which was available 20 years ago.

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    Replies
    1. Would that include a random pub in Harlow, as mentioned by KJP above?

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    2. That depends where you drink,
      I drink in pubs anywhere and have not come across loads of pubs with loads of different real ales on the bar,
      Go to Wallesey and you will see what i mean,i went there in the spring of this year and found more John Smiths smooth crap than real ale,all were random pubs i did while on a pub crawl there.

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    3. If you take the letters in "random", add a few, take a few, and rearrange them, you end up with "Cambridge", where py's proposition may be true in the pubs that remain after the decimation of 2007 onwards. It isn't true in the real world.

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    4. I popped out for lunch with the missus to a random pub on Saturday, and the beer selection was pretty typical of your average suburban midlands pub. 12 cask ales in a variety of styles, from best bitters, milds, porters and IPAs, with 6 craft keg options including a saison, an APAs and a coffee IPA with a stupid name. I went for the latter, but it was really excellent, and not overpriced either at £4.50 a pint. Times have certainly changed since the 90s, when the choice would have been bitter, biter, lager or Guinness.

      http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/black-iris-morning-glory/439440/


      Perhaps Nottingham isn't the real world either? Perhaps only the small and shrinking rump of dumpy estate pubs stuck in the 90s count as the "real world". No true Scotsman fallacy ahoy!

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    5. Maybe you would care to name the pub in question so we can determine how "average" it is amongst others in its vicinity.

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    6. I could, but I could probably name 50 pubs in Nottingham or its suburbs that it could have been, so what does it matter which exact one it was? I hadn't been to this pub in a few years so I went in as a form of experiment to see whether my prediction or your prediction would be proved correct, and was not surprised by what I found.

      The point is: loads and loads of pubs are like this nowadays, at least in every city I've visited in the past few years. I've been in 90% of the pubs in Nottingham and there are three types of pub: a good few keg-only rough pubs that sell Fosters at £1.90 a pint to gangs of builders and the unemployed, a load of Hungry Horses and Chef and Brewers that are pub-themed- family-restaurants in all but name and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and then the rest, which is about 50% of the pub stock, where they have a very varied and wide ranging beer selection. I was drinking in the same pubs 10 years ago and let me tell you, things have changed dramatically in the intervening period. Beer selections in the average pub have doubled if not tripled.

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    7. It does matter, because I think you're talking out of your arse. I live in a fairly affluent suburban area south of Manchester (although not in Manchester) and I can't think of a pub in the area that remotely meets that description.

      And a few middle-class suburbs of big cities aren't representative of the country as a whole.

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    8. You think New Basford is a middle class suburb? You think Dunkirk is a middle class suburb? You think Radford is a middle class suburb? Tell that to the Lion, the Johno and the Plough. There, I've named 3 pubs, it might well have been one of them.

      The vast majority of this country live in the suburbs of one big city or another.

      If I had highlighted some of the outstanding village pubs around the country, you'd have said "a few middle-class villages aren't representative of the country as a whole".


      So nothing in London, nothing in Cambridge, nothing in the south of England at all presumably, and now nothing in either a city or a "middle class" area, whatever that means. Where exactly is representative? Only Stockport? Is that it? We're getting to the point where the number of pubs that you claim are "the exception" is greater than the number of pubs that you claim to be "the norm".

      Delete
    9. So, let's put your theory to the test by choosing a place at random. Let's try Bingham, which I get the impression is a fairly prosperous market town a few miles east of Nottingham, with a high commuter population. The only time I've ever set foot in it is many years ago for a loo break on a car journey, so I have no prior knowledge. Looking at WhatPub, the first ten pubs are as follows:

      Horse & Plough (Castle Rock)

      This pub serves 3 regular beers.

      Brains Rev James
      Castle Rock Harvest Pale
      Wells Bombardier

      This pub serves 7 changing beers

      Butter Cross (Wetherspoon)

      This pub serves 4 regular beers.

      Greene King Abbot
      Nottingham Buttercoss Brew
      Ruddles Best Bitter
      Sharp's Doom Bar

      This pub serves Many changing beers

      Chesterfield (Punch Taverns)

      This pub serves 2 regular beers.

      Abbeydale Moonshine
      Sharp's Doom Bar

      This pub serves 3 changing beers

      White Lion (Star Pubs and Bars)

      This pub serves 1 regular beer.

      Theakston Best Bitter

      This pub serves 3 changing beers.

      Royal Oak, Car Colston (Marston's)

      This pub serves 2 regular beers.

      Marston's Burton Bitter
      Ringwood Boondoggle

      This pub serves 2 changing beers.

      Plough, Cropwell Butler (owner not given)

      This pub serves 2 regular beers.

      Castle Rock Harvest Pale
      Sharp's Doom Bar

      This pub serves 1 changing beer.

      Royal Oak, East Bridgford (Star Pubs and Bars)

      This pub serves 4 regular beers.

      Castle Rock Harvest Pale
      Courage Best Bitter
      Greene King IPA
      Theakston Best Bitter

      This pub serves 1 changing beer.

      Cranmer Arms, Aslockton (Enterprise Inns)

      This pub serves 3 regular beers.

      Greene King IPA
      Otter Amber
      Ruddles County

      Haven in the Vale, Whatton (no owner given)

      This pub serves 1 changing beer.

      Unicorn, Gunthorpe (Marston's)

      This pub serves 4 regular beers.

      Marston's - varies
      Marston's Pedigree
      Wychwood Hobgoblin

      So, the Castle Rock pub comes fairly close to your description, and there's a Spoons. But, apart from that, it's a typical mixture of pubco and brewery-owned pubs with at most five different cask beers, including many of the usual suspects. Exactly the kind of pub landscape I'd expect. If you chose a pub at random it's one of those that you'd get.

      Shall we do, say, Long Eaton next?

      Delete
    10. The area North West of Nott'm central has always been the top one for beer range, ands it's fairly average as far as the the suburbs go. There's more keg (and closed) pubs than pubs with real ale, and probably than half a dozen with the sort of choice you're talking about for a population over a 100,000. Hardly represents an ocean of choice, rather than the odd oasis.

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    11. errr, whatpub only reports draught cask beer, so is completely useless for this purpose. Much of the variety will be on keg or in bottle. I've never been to Bingham, so I have no idea as to the accuracy of whatpub or the state of these pubs.


      "The area North West of Nott'm central has always been the top one for beer range"

      Why do I get a feeling that if I had happened to mention equally good pubs in Mapperley or West Bridgford, you would have said:

      "The area South East of Nott'm central has always been the top one for beer range"

      This whole thread is just one long No True Scotsman Fallacy. Everywhere I have ever been - which is most of the country - is an exception, apparently.

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    12. Untick the box and you get all the keg pubs, dozens of them,as well as closed and cubs.

      As for beer range, I'm just going off the Beer Guides over the last 20 years. East of Sneinton has been poor until Everards/Castle Rock moved in, the west is poor till you get to the Derbyshire border.

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    13. The area to the North West of Nottingham city centre is now almost devoid of pubs,the Plough in Radford is one of only three left open from a stock of over 30 in the mid 80s,Lenton as faired a bit better but most do not stock that amount of real ales apart from the Johnsons Arms,the same goes for Basford lots of closed pubs and the Lion being the best of the lot for beer choice.
      I agree they are not middle class suburbs but Nottingham only has a few middle class suburbs with most of the city being either run down areas with very few pubs or large council estates with very few pubs,so you could not do a decent crawl picking up pubs with a great choice of real ales.

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    14. I did untick the box - obviously the ten nearest pubs to the centre of Bingham all serve real ale. Four in the town itself does seem a rather low number, although I get the impression it has grown a lot in population terms in recent years.

      I'd say the chances of a pub offering a fairly standard Marston's or Punch Taverns range of cask beers having a stunning array of craft kegs and bottles are very close to zero.

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    15. The Johnson Arms is in Dunkirk, Alan, not Lenton. Google it. I suppose someone who has never heard of Notts being called "Notts" wouldn't really know much about the city, so you're excused.

      You could do a pretty good pub crawl through most of the Nottingham suburbs - I've done several over the years.

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    16. I know Nottingham like the back of my hand,i was born in the City and lived in its suburbs for 54 years,i have always classed that side of the Dunkirk flyover as Lenton so the Boat,Grove now closed,on my list the only pub i hace classed as in Dunkirk is The Dunkirk which is hidden just off the main road.

      Try taking a walk along Alfreton road from canning circus to the M1 and see how many open pubs you can do,or better count the number of shut pubs along that stretch of road.

      I find it quite insulting in you saying i dont know that much about the city.

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    17. well don't talk nonsense then, Alan. Are you seriously trying to claim there are only 3 pubs in the whole of Radford, Forest Fields and Basford?

      Just because a pub doesn't sell real ale doesn't mean its not a pub. Real ale is a middle class drink for middle aged, middle class men. These are not middle class suburbs, so its entirely to be expected that the majority of pubs are keg-only. If you're lucky you might get a Mansfield Dark on keg, otherwise its Fosters like everyone else.

      Now, for reasons I have explained many times, the pubs that do sell cask ale make a big deal of it and have a big range of cask and keg craft beers, because this is what brings in the punters. The Lion and the Plough are good examples of this.

      Go to a more middle class area and you will find plenty of cask ale pubs. Just the other side of Lenton is the lower-middle class suburb of Beeston, which has dozens of pubs all with large ranges of cask and keg craft beers.

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    18. But the keg-only pubs won't have that wide range of craft kegs that you claim can be found in "any random pub", will they?

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    19. Some will, some won't.

      If you actually look back to what I said simply said that pubs with only 4 different beer styles available "were in a minority". Which they are. You can go into some of these keg-only pubs that have an extremely limited beer range in NW Notts (I frequently do) and its like stepping back into the 90s. It reminds you of how things have changed that pubs like this are so in the minority, and the multi-beer emporium with craft cask and keg options is now the mainstream.

      I also said that it wasn't unusual nowadays to find pubs with 15+ different beers nowadays. As we've discussed above, even in the rougher suburbs of industrial midlands cities, there are still plenty of examples of "beer emporium" style pubs. If you go to more middle class areas, they are the norm. That level of craft beer penetration simply didn't exist 20 years ago. Times have changed.

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    20. I've lost track of what we're supposed to be arguing about here, as you are constantly changing the goalposts.

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    21. That the choice of beer styles in pubs has improved since the 90s and that this is a good thing.

      In the past: 4 beer pubs majority, 10+ beer pubs minority
      Nowadays: 4 beer pubs minority, 10+ beer pubs majority

      Delete
    22. py, I would love to know which parallel beer universe you live in. In the relatively affluent city of Bristol, I can't think of more than maybe three or four pubs which have 10+ beers and most of these bulk the numbers up with craft keg at £5+ for 2/3 of a pint. 4 beer pubs are massively in the majority. In the rougher areas you're lucky to get one real ale; more usually just Smooth, lager, cider or Guinness.

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    23. Furthermore, if any publican put craft keg on in an estate pub, he would be greeted with the classic Bristolian phrase, "Whassaaat? I ain't payin' thaaat! Cider I up, landlord!"

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    24. Just because you can't think of them, doesn't mean they don't exist, it just means you're not very observant. I bet I could find 20 pubs in Bristol that sold more than 10 beers in about half an hour.

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    25. Well, I'm sure I could find plenty of pub company pubs with a range something like Doom Bar, Wainwright, Bombardier, John Smith's, Carling, Fosters, Amstel, Stella, Kronenbourg, Peroni and Guinness, but I don't think that's what you mean. "More than 10 non-mainstream beers", perhaps.

      Anyway, Bristol is a big city and must have 400+ pubs. If you can find that kind of range in twenty of them, it doesn't mean you'll find it in "any random pub", because clearly you won't.

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    26. You're right, Mudgie. Maybe py and I should have defined our terms. I was talking about draught cask ale (including the likes of Bombardier, Doom Bar et al) and craft keg, not Fosters, Kronenbourg etc. Yes, if you include mainstream lagers and Guinness, it wouldn't be difficult to find 10-beer pubs but I don't think that's what we're on about here. Or is it?

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    27. If you actually bother to read my previous posts, its pretty obvious what I meant. I don't know why you have put "any random pub" in quotes, because I didn't use that phrase. Who are you quoting?

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    28. Back on 19 October, you wrote:

      "I popped out for lunch with the missus to a random pub on Saturday, and the beer selection was pretty typical of your average suburban midlands pub."

      which clearly implies that this style of pub is very common (which it isn't), and that you're likely to encounter one just by selecting a pub at random (which you aren't). Or, in py-speak, does "random" actually mean "carefully selected"?

      Delete
    29. There's quite a big difference between "a random pub" and "any random pub".

      The first means a pub chosen without prior knowledge of its beer selection, and the second means all the pubs in the area. Completely different. I said one thing, you said the other.

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    30. "There's quite a big difference between "a random pub" and "any random pub."

      If there is, it's lost on me...

      Surely either means a pub selected at random without prior knowledge of what it offers.

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    31. I did 21 random pubs in Dartford on Saturday,if i saw a pub i would do it,the only pub that had more than six real ales on was the Wetherspoons,the Wat Tyler was next best with five real ales on,a half of what PY claims to be the norm when visiting random pubs,all others visited had three or less real ales on and four did not do any real ales at all.

      Delete
    32. How many different bottles and keg options did each pub have? Or were you not concentrating?

      Delete
    33. At the start of this long discussion where you are the only person who is right and all others are wrong you seemed to mention real ales and not bottles,i was concentrating on what real ales were on and also what keg bitters were on,if none on i noted the lager i had a drink of.
      I know you will rebuff this reply with some more load of bollocks and probably call me stupid,as you have already said i know nothing about Nottingham a city i do know a lot about.
      I will not reply to you again as i think you are just trying to wind people up,which you have done a good job of.

      I think you are digging a deeper hole for yourself on what is Curmogeons blog,
      I got chucked off the Pubs Galore forum for doing far less than you are doing on this blog.

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    34. I'm not winding anybody up, its not my fault if people can't read my perfectly sensible and reasonable posts about how beer choice has improved and get themselves all worked up.

      I can't see how anyone could possibly deny that there are more pubs around that offer a wide range of beers and beer styles, such people must never leave the house. Really crappy pubs that offer only lager, bitter and Guinness are now very much in the minority, and pubs that offer a wide range are so common that you can OFTEN just go into a random pub, as I did last weekend in Notts, and find yourself impressed with an excellent selection of beers.

      This is what I said in my first post and none of this is remotely controversial - or at least it shouldn't be to anyone who regularly visits pubs - so I really don't know why everyone keeps claiming its not true. I think some people just like to start arguments.

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    35. But how do you define "often"? I would say that, apart from in a limited number of middle-class suburbs of major cities, which are not remotely representative of the country as a whole, the chances of going into a random pub and being "impressed with an excellent selection of beers" are minuscule.

      Maybe you should try doing a pub crawl of one of the major towns near Cambridge - King's Lynn, Thetford or Wisbech, perhaps - and report back on your findings.

      Delete
  8. "Two beers versus one represent an infinite increase in choice"

    No it doesn't. It represents a 100% increase. Two beers versus none would be infinite.

    I'll stop now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If these is only one beer, there is no choice.

      If there are two beers, there is a choice between one or the other, therefore it is infinitely greater.

      Delete
    2. But with one beer there is a choice - to drink the beer or not. There's nothing compulsory about it. A choice of one is surely better than a choice of none, therefore a choice of one cannot be calculated as zero (because that's what the choice of none is) and therefore cannot be a factor of infinity?

      If there is one beer on, it's possible to have twice as many beers on or ten times as many beers on, or whatever and with any of these equations there will always be more beers on.

      If there are no beers on, then twice as many beers or ten times as many beers on will always result in zero beers on, so any beer on would represent an infinite increase in choice, no?

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    3. Ahh, there are many infinities, each of a different size.

      Delete
  9. I dont believe beer is better quality now. 20 years ago we had Youngs brewed in Wandsworth. Who wants 10 - 15 beer styles. Ive been trying a lot of the so called creft beers. I have found many to be poor quality and very many taste the same, very over hopped. To preserve sanity i have to imbibe some Timothy Taylors !

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  10. Py could start an argument in a phone box.
    Leaving that aside, it seems to me that the on trade, like so many other markets, is polarising. The keg only pubs are, as others say, offering an increasingly limited range of big keg brands as the regional variants are discontinued and the integrated family brewers concentrate on cask and bottles for supermarkets.
    The specialist crafterati meanwhile strive to outdo each other with increasingly eclectic, or eccentric, ranges. I am offered a bewildering variety of new and untried products on a weekly basis.
    BTW, has anyone seen a Spoons customer drinking any of their craft range? I visit at least one Spoons per week ( in the interests of competitive research ) and haven't clocked on yet.

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    Replies
    1. In their two airport branches that I have visited recently, almost every customer was drinking the Devils Backbone, mainly because their cask selection was so shit.

      Delete
  11. I can vouch for Alan Winfield's comments. Wallasey and Birkenhead are bastions of smoothflow and keg lager. You can't even find Doom Bar in most pubs never mind trendy keg.

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    1. Well, yes, this obsession with cask ale is a largely middle class affectation like organic food and making your own bread. "Trendy" keg probably has a better chance of breaking through in these types of pubs - something like Brewdog is far more accessible to the average young drinker than a pint of something warm and twiggy, and it doesn't go off after 3 days.

      Delete
  12. Except for its price.
    You argue that cask beer is a middle class affectation, then suggest that the average keg pub has a customer base willing to pay £4+ for trendy keg.
    Can't see the logic TBH.

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    Replies
    1. You should watch that documentary with Grayson Perry, it explains it quite well. The working classes can't afford to signal their wealth the way the upper middle classes do through enormous houses, range rovers and privately educating their kids, so they do it in smaller ways instead - designer labels, souped up golfs and expensive lager.


      Delete
  13. Seems a bit crackers to butt in here as py is shiftier than a weartime spiv, but when he says "Nowadays pubs like that are a minority. You can often go into a random pub and find yourself offered a choice of 10-15 different beer styles, and generally of a far better quality than that which was available 20 years ago."

    Note "beer styles" not beers.Even in the smartest craft emporium you may get 10 or 15 beers, but no chance on this earth you'll get 10 or 15 "styles". Just fantasy in the best of places,never mind pubs chosen at random.

    py also says "12 cask ales in a variety of styles, from best bitters, milds, porters and IPAs, with 6 craft keg options including a saison, an APAs and a coffee IPA "

    And:

    "Well, yes, this obsession with cask ale is a largely middle class affectation like organic food and making your own bread. "Trendy" keg probably has a better chance of breaking through in these types of pubs - something like Brewdog is far more accessible to the average young drinker than a pint of something warm and twiggy, and it doesn't go off after 3 days."

    First he quotes cask ale in support of his so called case, then he dismisses it.

    Try this: "errr, whatpub only reports draught cask beer, so is completely useless for this purpose. Much of the variety will be on keg or in bottle. I've never been to Bingham, so I have no idea as to the accuracy of whatpub or the state of these pubs."

    Guess who said that?

    And he continually and interchangeably mixes up styles with beers in his comments to continue to undermine his own doubtful case.

    Sheesh!

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    Replies
    1. Indeed - I said 10 beer STYLES, including keg, cask and bottle. Most pubs nowadays sell 10 different styles of beer. You could have cask bitter, cask golden ale, cask mild, cask porter, cask IPA, keg lager, keg ipa, keg bitter, keg stout, bottled wheat beer, bottled strong ale.

      That's 11 different styles, and its hardly a description of a craft beer bar. Even the most bog standard Greene King houses have a selection like that. In fact, unless you actively go out of your way to seek out a rough and ready keg only pub, most pubs do.


      Of course, if you use whatpub and only count the cask ales, you might naively conclude that this pub offered 5 different beer styles.


      You'll notice I also said you could OFTEN find a pub like this. Not always, often.

      Stop trying to put words into my mouth and just admit that as usual, I'm completely right and if you think otherwise, its because you've deliberately misinterpreted what I actually said.

      Delete
    2. Still mixing styles and beers. Bitter is a style. Keg bitter and cask bitter aren't two different styles. Just two different presentations of the same style. And so on.

      I had nothing to say about "always" or often. You made that up. And I used your words.

      Delete
    3. You're also now changing the rules of the game by suddenly including bottled beers, which obviously for most pubs would increase the number of styles available.

      Delete
    4. According to the BJCP and their guidelines that were last relevant in about 1910, maybe not, but in reality, of course they are. A pint of john smiths smoothflow extra cold and a pint of landlord are far further apart stylistically than ordinary bitter, best bitter, and extra special bitter.


      No I said often, you inferred always.

      Delete
    5. I mentioned bottled beer in one of the very first posts in the discussion. Its a cheap and easy way for pubs to expand their beer range.

      Delete

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