Wednesday 12 July 2017

Now we are ten

Today marks the tenth anniversary of this blog, the creation of which was prompted by a certain event that had occurred eleven days previously. The very first post, which set the tone for the next ten years, was on the subject of Bansturbation. This is post number 1907, so I have made an average of 190.7 posts per year.

It is noticeable how many of the early posts were brief bullet points that nowadays would probably be reserved for Twitter. It was a couple of years before the blog started to attract any significant number of comments, or that I became aware of the wider existence of something called the “blogosphere”.

So here’s a personal selection of ten of my most significant posts broadly spread over the past ten years. It’s odd how some of my most serious and thoughtful posts have been the ones attracting fewest comments.

  • February 2009: Winds of change – the reasons for the decline of the pub trade in favour of home drinking go far beyond just relative price.

  • December 2009: Don’t call me stupid – drinkers of mainstream beers aren’t ill-informed, they just have different priorities from the enthusiast.

  • February 2011: Who wants customers? – would the pub trade as a whole really be much more successful if it did more to meet customer tastes? Strangely, despite making a very important point, this one drew no comments whatsoever.

  • September 2011: Taste the difference – contrary to received wisdom, pub food was often more diverse and of better quality thirty years ago.

  • July 2012: Whatever happened to pubs? – how did regular pubgoing stop being an integral part of ordinary people’s lives?

  • August 2012: The real reason why – changing attitudes to drink-driving within the law are one of the biggest factors behind the decline in the pub trade, especially outside major urban centres. And possibly a major part of the answer to the question posed in the previous post.

  • January 2014: Out of control – claiming that on-trade drinking is somehow more responsible than the off-trade is divisive special pleading that simply helps the anti-drink lobby.

  • March 2015: Last pub standing – in some less prosperous areas, pub decline has been devastating, yet beer bubble denizens just don’t see it.

  • May 2016: A taste of tradition – there’s a gulf between what you buy as a consumer and what you follow as a leisure interest.

  • November 2016: False equivalence – It is wrong and unhelpful to regard bottle-conditioned beers as the direct packaged equivalent of cask.


  1. Congratulations. Long time!

  2. Yes, congratulations Mudge. Perseverance and inspiration go into that blog. Those you highlight include a few I'd have nominated in your Top 10, particularly your reflection on the slow death of pubgoing as a normal activity

  3. (my Blocked Dwarf ID is having it's comments eaten again) Congrats! Few and far between are the blogs still going after 10 whole years; bit like pubs in that regard! Ten years of finding something new and interesting to say on an almost daily basis is an achievement whatever the subject matter. Respect that man.

  4. Congrats sir. My tenth blogday was last week.

    1. 2007 seems to have been a vintage year for starting blogs. Amongst beery ones, Boak & Bailey and Tandleman also started in that year.

  5. Congrats! Enjoyed your blog for a good few years now.

  6. I have only been reading the blog for a year or so but have read the back posts.

    I think that Mudge and I have a lot in common: from what he has said I am only a year younger. He seems to like pubs more than beer: that is to say that he would rather go to a great pub and drink lager than an awful pub even if the cask beer was good. I feel the same.

    Where we differ is in that I come from London and have only spent time in the South. I have only seen electric dispense in one pub and that more than 30 years ago and also no oversized glasses. Tankards, or glasses with handles, usually dimpled, were I thought a Southern thing but I have seen them recently on the blog and Northern glasses I thought were straight but strong. There are now branded glasses but otherwise all seem to have been replaced now by the Nonik, a nasty cheap glass, rarely stolen, easy to collect and dishwash. Maybe I should ask for the glass that I prefer but I rarely think to do so.

    Perhaps the biggest difference between London and Manchester is in the lack of regional brewers in London: the big six dominated. In east London it was Charringtons with the odd Courage house and in the London/Essex borders McMullen from Hertfordshire had a few houses: I only remember a minor presence from Greene King at that time.

    As to smoking, I am a smoker, I would have a couple of pints on the way home from work every evening and would visit local pubs regularly. I still did when the weather was good: not cold, rainy or windy. One night, driving back from the supermarket with my evening meal, it started raining: I had been looking forward to a couple of pints. So trade lost, and every member of the bar staff there smoked anyway.

    My life has been diminished: the other people in the pub were not friends but they were company. I am not interested in football but I tried to remember the teams that they supported so I could engage in casual conversation. Oh, and hey smoked as well.

    1. "He seems to like pubs more than beer"

      In fact I did a blogpost making this very point a few years ago entitled Wooden Wombs. "At heart I have to conclude I’m more fascinated by pubs than beer."

      I deliberately didn't include any smoking ban posts in this list, but the one entitled Drip, drip, drip... is particularly relevant to your situation. The effect of the ban was more a slow erosion of sociability than a one-off hit.

  7. Top Blogging Sir! Looking forward to following you for many years more.

  8. Just revisited those 10 posts and thoroughly agreed with most of them - it's good to have a voice of intelligent conservatism (small c) in among the crafties. Good luck for the next ten!

  9. When you realise that most points you cover in a beer blog have been covered many, many times.

    Its all a bit cyclical.

    Congrats, Mudge.

  10. I was incredibly busy last week so missed this. Hearty congrats mate, long may you continue! :)


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