Posts Tagged ‘beer’

Deathwatch: MPs to kill off ‘beer-tie’ for pubs?

November 17th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

beer 282x300 Deathwatch: MPs to kill off beer tie for pubs?There’s a lot of rules and regulations around pubs that many see as damaging to our noble boozers. One of them is the ‘beer-tie’, which means that tied leaseholders are legally obliged to buy their beer at whatever price their landlords choose.

The OFT said that ‘beer-ties’ were ‘working well’ for customers, despite the fact a lot of pubs have closed down because of it, which isn’t great for those who like a snifter down their local at all. This ruling has mainly hit pubs in less affluent areas the hardest, where they’ve been priced out of the market by landlords and of course, supermarkets.

Tied-landlords are shutting down pubs and the people that own them are flogging them as little more than property. It is enough to drive you to drink, if you had somewhere to drink that is.

However, MPs are pushing for an amendment to the proposed Pubs Code, where they hope to axe the ‘beer-tie’.

Greg Mulholland, LibDem MP for Leeds North West and chair of Parliament’s Save the Pub Group, is pushing an amendment to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which proposes that landlords should be offered a ‘market rent only’ option, which in plain English, means that they’ll have no obligation to buy beer from the group that owns their pub. That means a better variety of booze and, with more competition, better prices on the pumps.

If you’ve ever wondered why, for example, your local hasn’t ever served Doom Bar or Timothy Taylors, even though everyone wants to sup it, chances are, the person who runs your pub isn’t allowed.

Federation of Small Businesses chairman John Allan said: “Pub company tenants aren’t getting a fair deal and this will continue unless they have the option to go free of tie.”

There’s some opposition to this proposal, but these people are clearly not concerned about communities having proper boozers, rather than priced-up gastrononsense.

Will this be the end of the ‘beer-tie’ or are the breweries too powerful to budge?

Help For Heroes invent a beer

November 4th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

help for heroes beer 300x225 Help For Heroes invent a beerHelp for Heroes, the charity that quite literally offers help for heroes, has created a beer.

The Help For Heroes ale will be available in 250 branches of Tesco ahead of Remembrance Sunday. It’s a 4.2% abv affair, selling at the reasonable £1.97.

It was developed by three Help for Heroes ambassadors: Pete Dunning, Daniel Whittingham and Simon Brown, together with Marston’s brewer Genevieve Upton.

The whole project was a result of a chance meeting between the co-founder of the charity and Tesco’s beer buyer Chaira Nesbitt, who will now speak: “When I heard Bryn was struggling to get a fundraising beer off the ground I was amazed.”

“After he told me the type of ale Help for Heroes was looking to create I promised him the beer would be sitting on Tesco shelves within a year.”

The ale is directed at the lager set, who are BORED of the frivolity of fizz and settling into the ales because of the flavours.

The beer is festooned with the logo: ‘Created by Heroes; Brewed by Marston’s; Enjoyed by Everyone’ and five pence from the sale of each bottle will go to Help for Heroes, which supports the rehabilitation of injured members of the armed forces.

So there you have it. You can finally get drunk in the name of charity and if anyone asks you why you’re falling about everywhere (the beer’s not that strong so you’ll have to buy a load of bottles), you can simply burp: “Just doing my bit!”

Wetherspoons: tax-free boozing on Wednesday

September 22nd, 2014 5 Comments By Ian Wade

pint of beer 300x180 Wetherspoons: tax free boozing on WednesdaySeveral Wetherspoon pubs will be dropping their prices by 7.5% on Wednesday.

The pubs will taking part in national Tax Equality Day, which highlights how everyone would benefit from a VAT  reduction in the hospitality industry.

It’s been part of an ongoing palaver between the company and the Government over their tax battles.

More than 900 Wetherspoon pubs are taking part in the campaign.

The company paid out £275.1m in VAT last year, which took their total tax bill to £600.2m, which is 43% of the company’s sales.

On average, each Wetherspoon pub pays £12,700 a week in tax.

UK supermarkets pay no VAT on food, whereas pubs pay 20%. The company said this economic disadvantage has contributed to the closure of many thousands of pubs.

You can see their point.

While this may be a political point by the pub chain, you don’t need to be interested in this jostling. Basically, head to your local Wetherspoons this Wednesday and enjoy a cut-price piss-up. Hurrah!

world cup football No one watches the World Cup in a WetherspoonsThe pubs and beer sales are always up when the World Cup is on, but the football has not helped Wetherspoons at all.

You see, they don’t usually show football, and during the World Cup, they’ve seen their sales weaken.

In a trading statement before its financial year ends on 27 July, Wetherspoon said: “Sales have been slightly weaker during the World Cup. Although sales have slowed in recent weeks, the company remains confident of a reasonable outcome in the current financial year.”

Now here’s a thing - Wetherspoon pubs have actually shown matches during the international football tournament, but fans have obviously not noticed. Maybe it would’ve been an idea to shout about it a bit more earlier on in proceedings, rather than waiting until there’s bugger-all games left?

Shares have fallen a bit and the company have also decided to shut up shop a little earlier than usual.

They said the government’s late-night levy, which allows councils to charge for the extra costs of policing late boozers had gone up by around £4,000 a year in various places.

“Wetherspoon has decided to reduce opening hours from the current 1am to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays at most of our affected pubs, as and when the levy is introduced or renewed – a retrograde step for pubs,” Wetherspoon said.

We Really Want… a Synek beer machine!

July 2nd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

beer 282x300 We Really Want... a Synek beer machine!All hail the Synek Kickstarter! Why? Well, this crowdfunder enables you to have any beer you want, at home, with the help of your computer. That’s nice isn’t it?

Obviously, you could just go to the shop and buy bottles of whatever your favourite tipple is, but this is for the homebrewer sort, who wants things a little different.

So, here’s the deal – you know what a growler is? Quiet at the back of class. A growler is a heavy glass jug that can store beer for transportation, which preserves some of the freshness. The Synek employs a plastic pouch, which has a tube system from your tap and can store one gallon of beer and is airtight so everything stays fresh.

You can fill it up with your homebrew or, if you prefer, waddle down the local with it and get them to fill it up with your favourite draught booze. Once you have a pouch full of liquid (seriously, stop sniggering at the back there), you pop it in Synek and you can then pull it straight from the tap.

While a growler keeps your beer for a couple of days, Synek reckons you can have lovely draught beer for up to a month. You can even keep your pouch in the fridge and swap one beer for another.

It’ll set you back $299 for the full shebang, which is roughly the same price as a fancy(ish) coffee machine.

If you’re already too drunk to concentrate on reading words, let this video explain what the Synek beer machine does (and enjoy Steve’s great sweary intro).

If you want to contribute to the Kickstarter and put some money up, click here.

Which countries have the cheapest beer?

July 1st, 2014 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

The price of a pint is always far more pertinent than the fabled ‘price of fish’. No-one shouts “HOW MUCH?!” at an expensive piece of hake, unless you’re a seafarer or a fishmonger nerd.

Swanky bars may charge you £5 for a bottle of weak lager, while a CAMRA approved pub may well get you completely mortal for £1.30 a pop. But on average, is British beer cheap, compared to the rest of the world?

Well thankfully, we’ve been sent an infographic to help us find out which country is best for having a cheap snifter… but remember; cheap doesn’t always mean quality.

cheap beer 500x260 Which countries have the cheapest beer?

Turns out that the cheapest boozers can be found in Vietnam and Ukraine, which is nice. Unless you go their during civil conflict. The best shout on the list, for price and quality, is the wonderful Czech Republic. Their beers are incredible and, as anyone who has visited will tell you, booze is seen as a basic human right there.

If you want to avoid shelling out loadsamoney, then avoid the Middle East. Mainly because alcohol is banned in parts of it. Where they do have beer, it is expensive.

In short, the price of one beer in Iran buys you 13 in Ukraine.

If you want to see the rest of the list and the full infographic, and some interesting beer factoids, then we advise paying a visit to financesonline/beer prices for the low down on who drinks the most, which beer is the most popular in the world and a more.

Pub landlords to be helped by government?

June 3rd, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

beer 282x300 Pub landlords to be helped by government?Britain’s pubs are fantastically important to the community, but in recent years, too many of them have found themselves struggling thanks to stupid rents and booze costs.

Well, the government have come up with some new rules in a bid to help pub tenants who are finding it difficult to stay financially afloat.

This new statutory code includes the right to request a rent review after five years and there’s also action being taken after a lot of landlords complained about the ”beer tie”. For the uninitiated, ‘tied pubs’ are those who are forced to buy their supplies (quite often at extortionate prices) from pub companies that own the premises.

Thanks to ‘tied pubs’, over a half of publicans told the government that they earned less than the minimum wage.

“Far too many landlords feel their income is squeezed by big pub companies. So today we are tacking action to make sure they get a fairer deal,” said Business Secretary Vince Cable.

These reforms will see the appointment of an independent adjudicator who will be able to enforce new rules and impose sanctions, financial penalties and such, on pub owners failing to play along with the new rules. Tenant landlords will have the right to review the information that pub companies use to determine increases in rent and tenants of companies that own in advance of 500 pubs will have the right to ask for a “parallel free-of-tie rent assessment”, which will basically show them if they’d be better off going independent.

While there’s little confidence in anything offered by a government, we can only hope that this sees some kind of pub revival.

wine glasses 300x199 Dream job alert  wine and beer testers wanted #freeboozeGood old Aldi. Not only are we all fans of their low prices (and the best supermarket ads on telly), they are now seeking to win the hearts of many more by seeking official wine tasters on Twitter.

The ten “aspiring wine connoisseurs” will receive two free bottles of wine, plus tasting notes, each month, and in return need to produce a measly 140 character review. And drink the wine, of course. Potential applicants have until June 2 to apply with a 150 word spiel and their Twitter name.

And if wine isn’t your bag, drinks retailer Oddbins are also out for public input. Oddbins already run an annual wine taster search and now, we kid you not, they are looking for beer testers. Consumers over the age of 18 who think they  could possibly put themselves through the hardship of drinking beer on Oddbins’ behalf can apply for the role, which will go towards the decision making process of deciding choosing which UK ales to stock.

By tweeting @Oddbins and including #OddbinsBeer, you don’t have many characters left to convince the company why you are the best beer-swiller for the job, but if you’re interested, you have until the end of May to come up with something short and snappy. The role is unpaid, but the chosen candidate will receive monthly deliveries of cases of craft ales in exchange for their guidance in the beer-picking process.

Ayo Akintola, managing director of Oddbins, said: “We are committed to placing our customers at the heart of our business model and recruiting a customer beer taster is consistent with that philosophy.”

While these are just two examples of businesses seeking customer engagement, it does show a growing trend towards using customers, in more than one sense of the word, and how this can be mutually beneficial. Even if you aren’t successful in becoming the Aldi wine taster, next time you buy wine, you know Aldi has wine tasters, which might make you more inclined to buy Aldi wine. And for the cost of a monthly case of beer, Oddbins generates publicity worth many times that amount, and even gets a mention on consumer sites whose readers might appreciate the opportunity to drink free beer…

In an attempt to keep up their punk rock image (even though they’re quite clearly bespectacled dweebs in Converse), the makers of BrewDog ales have given the finger to the Portman Group after they found that the promotion of one of their ales encouraged binge drinking and anti-social behaviour.
dead pony club brew dog 300x300 BrewDog are #sorrynotsorry about Portman Group ruling

After the Portman Group banned their near boozeless 3.8% Dead Pony Club beer advertising – which was described as ‘perfect for drinking by the bottle, case or keg’ – BrewDog did their worst. They wrote a blog post.

In the insufferable post, which sounds like it was written by Viv from the Young Ones (or perhaps Nigel Farage), the craft beer company apologised for ‘not giving a shit’ about the findings of the independent complaints panel. Under the title #sorrynotsorry, founder James Watt wrote:

“Unfortunately, the Portman Group is a gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths, funded by navel-gazing international drinks giants. Their raison d’être is to provide a diversion for the true evils of this industry, perpetrated by the gigantic faceless brands that pay their wages. Blinkered by this soulless mission, they treat beer drinkers like brain dead zombies and vilify creativity and competition. Therefore, we have never given a second thought to any of the grubby newspeak they disseminate periodically.”

YEAH, MAN, YOU’RE ALL CORPORATE SUITS. TAKE A CHILL PILL, YEAH? (Let’s not mention the whole Selling Beer In Tesco Thing).

The independent brewery has long called for the dismantling of the Portman Group, but this latest outburst is one of their most direct attacks yet.

But is this the kind of world-changing rebellion that could bring the drinks industry – and the Portman Group- to its knees? Or is it just a storm in a beer glass created by a bunch of terminal adolescents with thin beards who make beer that tastes of urine?

They probably don’t care, maaaaaaaan.

beer 282x300 New chain of discount pubs with beer for £1 a pop?There are plans to open a chain of discount pubs who will be selling you beer for a pound-a-pop, which of course, has sent drink awareness campaigners into some kind of sober meltdown. The first of these boozers has already opened in Manchester and, thus far, absolutely nothing negative has happened.

The second is about to start doing business in Stockton on Tees, and they would like a special license where they can sell beer from 8am. Why you’d want something that makes you tired and farty that early in the morning is another matter. Maybe they’ll do cheapo fry-ups?

Either way, if these pubs are a success, the chain wants to go nationwide, selling various lagers, bitters, ales and ciders for £1.50-a-pint, or £1 for a half. These prices aren’t that dissimilar to Wetherspoons and a host of local pubs that aren’t part of a chain as such.

Not that booze botherers are having any of it. Colin Shevells, director of Balance, said: “Drink is already too affordable, too available and too heavily promoted. We know that problems are caused by it being too cheap. The PoundPub is just part of a much bigger problem. We need to wake up to the problems cheap alcohol is causing both in the short and long term.”

Mike Wardell, a director behind PoundPub said: “The first PoundPub in Atherton, Greater Manchester has just won an award from CAMRA for the most improved site for our range of cask ales. It is hugely popular and successful, and customer feed back has been fantastic. We are responsible retailers, and this is about giving value for money to working people.”

“No one said anything when Workingmen’s clubs were offering bitter for 99 pence a pint, in fact it was pretty popular. We will offer a quality product at an affordable price. These two sites are the test, and a lot will depend on how successful they are as to how we expand. At a time when 12 pubs a week are closing across the country we have to think outside the box a bit.”

These PoundPubs aren’t just selling cheap ale – they have trad pub games like darts and billiards, but no satellite TV. Basically, they sound amazing – although the beer might be lousy; there’s only one way to find out if that’s the case.

BrewDog mock Putin’s anti-gay stance with beer

February 4th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

BrewDog are taking the Michael out of Russia’s anti-gay business with a new beer called ‘Hello My Name is Vladimir’, just in time for the Winter Olympics.

The beer carries the sarcastic strapline of ‘not for gays’ alongside an image of Putin himself. The Scottish brewers consider this to be the first ‘protest beer’. BrewDog have also sent a case of the 8.2% IPA to the President himself.

50% of profits from the sale of Hello My Name is Vladimir will be donated to charities that represent oppressed minorities.

Vlad Label copy 3 208x500 BrewDog mock Putins anti gay stance with beer

James Watt, BrewDog co-founder says: “We sincerely hope that when Vladimir Putin is tired from a busy day riding horses with his top off, grappling with burly men on the Judo mat or fishing in his Speedos, he reclines on a velvet chaise longue and has one of his handsome helpers wet his whistle with a glass of Hello My Name is Vladimir.”

“As Hello My Name is Vladimir is clearly marked ‘not for gays’ we should bypass the legislation introduced by Putin outlawing supposed ‘homosexual propaganda’, so Vlad shouldn’t have an issue with it. He might even invite us to ride bareback with him in the Siberian mountains.”

“It’s been our mission at BrewDog to upend the status quo in whatever form it occurs. Whether it’s the stranglehold the mega brewers have had on beer production in Europe over the last 50 years, or in the case of Russia, the sick legislation that discriminates against millions of its citizens. Our core beliefs of freedom, integrity and passion drive all our actions. Since we started in 2007, we’ve always striven to strike fear at the heart of the gatekeepers and establishment, the launch of Hello My Name is Vladimir is simply a continuation of that tradition.”

They always spoil it by talking, don’t they?

SABMiller’s dreadful beer results in weak profits

January 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

beer SABMillers dreadful beer results in weak profitsSABMiller – the people responsible for making some of your favourite beers much weaker, have reported disappointing third-quarter sales, which has sent their share value tumbling.

The maker of beers such as Peroni and Grolsch have been fiddling with their lagers and, as a result, everyone’s been buying other booze. ”SABMiller’s Q3 trading statement was beneath market expectations at lager volume level, despite some useful emerging markets volume growth,” said analysts at Oriel Securities. “Moreover, reported earnings remain under pressure from currency headwinds.”

See, the company think that people aren’t buying their beers because of price increases and the depreciation of currencies against the U.S. dollar. However, what is blatantly obvious to anyone with a mouth to drink with and a life worth forgetting through drink, their beer is simply not worth buying because you may as well try and get drunk on wine gums.

In Europe, Australia and North America particularly, SABMiller is ‘plagued by weak consumer sentiment’.

With the biggest variety in lagers and ales on the shelves we’ve had in yonks, SABMiller’s sales are surely heavily reliant on teenagers and stuff in the sale bins. Until they start giving their booze a punch again, they can assume that sales will continue to dwindle.

England’s first motorway pub opens today

January 21st, 2014 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

beer 282x300 Englands first motorway pub opens todayToday, England’s first motorway service station pub opens, which will inevitably cause a huge kerfuffle as people assume that drivers won’t be able to resist the temptation of getting bladdered behind the wheel, despite the fact millions of drivers successfully scoot past pubs every day without ending up swilling pints in their cars.

The pub is called the Hope and Champion and is two storeys of boozy goodness. You can find it at the services on the M40, next to junction 2 near Beaconsfield which is in Buckinghamshire.

The pub opens at 4am and closes at 1am. They’ll serve beer from 9am.

Wetherspoon’s are planning more of these motorway boozers and point out that it isn’t just a pub as they’ll be selling a range of non-alcoholic drinks, tea and coffee (with free refills) on top of the usual local real ales, wine, spirits and beers. They’re probably going to sell food too, so if you’re in need of a fry-up while driving, they’ll be on it, going toe-to-toe with the Little Chefs of the road.

A spokesman for Wetherspoon’s said they think most of their profits will come from passengers buying a pint or people on coach trips, adding: “We are not naive. We know that giving drivers the chance to have a pint off the motorway is an unusual offer. But equally we do not live in a nanny state. We expect drivers to act responsibly.”

The motorway pubs will have the national Drink Drive Awareness logos on… well, everything. As well as that, soft drinks will be much cheaper than they usually are in pubs and elsewhere in the service station.

Various charities and pressure groups are not happy, picturing our motorways ablaze with car-wrecks thanks to drink driving. However, service stations aren’t exactly paragons of virtue as it is. Their original purpose was to provide rest spots and toilets for people on long journeys, but rather than a bit of piece of quiet, service stations are more like a mini Vegas, filled with gamblers and video games.

If Wetherspoon’s undercut the ridiculously high prices we find in service stations already, we’re all onto a winner until some berk spoils it for everyone by getting battered on cheap ale and driving into traffic. Play nice. Don’t spoil it for everyone.

20,000 reasons to stay off the booze in January

December 31st, 2013 2 Comments By Thewlis

beer 300x225 20,000 reasons to stay off the booze in JanuaryHappy New Year! For tomorrow. Many of us will be ringing in the new year with a clinking of glasses filled with [Aldi’s £9.99] champagne and looking forward to 2014. But are you going to join in the latest charity fandangle and be a dryathlete? Giving up alcohol for a month might seem extreme, but even if you aren’t minded to do it for charity, rumour has it that you could increase your pension pot by £20,000 just by taking part.

Actuarial firm JLT employee benefits has calculated that, purely going on the beer money saved, your pension fund could be topped up by £20,000, which could then convert to an annual additional income of £1,000 a year, plus 50% spouse benefits. Unfortunately, however, they also assume that you are a 22 year old male who intends to stop drinking in January for the rest of his working life.

The calculations are based on the well-known fact that 22 year old men drink nine pints a week, at £3.20 a pint. The weekly £28.80 cost adds up to £125 for the month of January, and the cumulative effect of investing an extra £125 every year until Mr Average 22 Year Old reaches the unimaginable senility of 68 is the aforementioned £20k bung.

Those 20,000 reasons not to drink in January are only bonuses on top of the evergreen reasons not to imbibe such as overindulgence, dieting, or a lack of funds. But is it really worth it? In 44 years’ time, inflation might mean that nine pints cost £20k, or maybe the State Pension might have eroded so much that every extra penny will count. He probably won’t be able to retire at 68 anyway, the amount of times the Government has increased changed the eligible age limit.

Or, if you are so concerned, you could just save an extra tenner or so into your pension* every month instead.

[Telegraph]

*Other retirement/long term savings vehicles are available

pint of beer 300x180 Ordering your beer with your phone to end the bar queue?There is nothing quite as irritating as getting into a pub and all you want is a lovely beer and it is ten-deep and the barman is doing one drink at a time. And then he does the Guinness last.

Well, one pub is trying something different in a bid to kill the queue – they’ve got technology involved so you can order through your mobile.

If you go to the Keyworth Tavern in Nottingham you can even order your round while you’re on the way, thanks to this Orderella app. You can order from your table once you get in and a bartender will bring over your booze. You’ll only have to stand up to defecate or dance badly to the jukebox.

All drinks are charged to an account to avoid actually using cash and the app will be rolled out at 50 pubs across the UK next month.

Landlord Adrian Clarke reckons the app has already gone down well, saying: “A group of customers even had a bet to see which would be quicker – ordering a drink on the phone or going up to the bar as normal. The phone app won.”

Naturally, the advent of not using cash could mean that the app generates a feeling of ‘pretend money’ and you might end up buying far more than you intended, but at least you’ll get a roaring night out of it. It won’t matter if you’re legless now.

Have a look at the app here.