Posts Tagged ‘beer’
The number of local pubs in the UK has fallen to its lowest point in over a century, say the old gits at the Campaign For Real Ale. In fact only 57,000 locals are left, thanks to annoying wine bars, chain pubs and fancy 5 star gastro joints called things like The Lazy Ox and The Fox’s Anal Fissure.
This sad news, which makes you want to immediately hotfoot it to the Pig and Whistle and stare vacantly into a pint of Speckled Badger, comes as traditional pubs are closing at the rate of 26 a week.
Chief executive of CAMRA Mike Benner blamed the government, saying: “We believe that the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and the extra 1p off beer duty announced in this year’s Budget could mark a turning point for pubs.’
But the government also intend to crack down on dodgy dealings from the big chains and introduce a new watchdog scheme which could save local pub landlords £100 million a year.
Let’s hope the humble pub survives. After all, there are only so many times you can see the words ‘pulled pork’ on a rustic blackboard before you want to go mad and attack someone with a pool cue.
Italy! A place of sunshine, fine wines and rich food! A country with fashion houses, tailored suits and sexual potency! However, Italians aren’t all great. Aside from the whole ‘fascism thing’, they also don’t know the first thing about good beer.
This is neatly underlined by an establishment called ‘Old Bear’ which, on the chalkboard, prioritises Tennent’s Super on the beer list! Not only that, they have TWO TYPES of Tennent’s, which is just magnificent. Perfect if your bar wants to attract Rab C. Nesbitt or Stuart McCall.
Anheuser-Busch, who make Budweiser and more, are hitting back at those who think they make watery beer. Of course, all beer is watery or else you’d eat slices of it, but it is pretty much agreed that Bud isn’t exactly a pleasant ale.
And now AB are defending their reputation against claims that they’re watering down beers after boozers filed lawsuits for $5m (£3.3m) each last week in various American states, alleging the alcohol content is less than stated on the label.
AB decided to run full-page adverts, which look exactly like this.
If you can’t read the small text, it says that AB have donated millions of cans of water to the American Red Cross and disaster relief organisations around the world, before signing off with: “”But in every other circumstance, the Anheuser-Busch logo is our ironclad guarantee that the beer in your hand is the best beer we know how to brew.”
“We take no shortcuts and make no exceptions. Ever.”
The lawsuit lead lawyer, Josh Boxer, said: “Our information comes from former employees at Anheuser-Busch, who have informed us that, as a matter of corporate practice, all of their products mentioned [in the lawsuit] are watered down,” and that “Anheuser-Busch employs some of most sophisticated process control technology in the world to precisely monitor the alcohol content at the final stages of production, and then adds additional water to produce beers with significantly lower alcohol contents than is represented on the the labels”.
Company insiders came forward to offer this information, which AB completely reject, with Boxer stating: “These alcohol readings, taken six times a second as the finished product is bottled, will confirm the allegations made by the growing number of former employees who keep coming forward to tell us the truth,” he said.
“Following the merger, [Anheuser-Busch] vigorously accelerated the deceptive practices, sacrificing the quality products once produced by Anheuser-Busch in order to reduce costs,” the lawsuit said.
Some bright sparks called McKinnery Ten Percent have made an arcade machine that rewards you in beer, and called it ‘Beercade’. That’s a game where you indulge in a beat-’em-up and get a pint poured for you when you’re victorious, straight from the machine!
The machine has been created as part of a campaign to promote the Big Boss Brewing Company, and the marketing team should be thunderously applauded.
The game is called ‘The Last Barfighter’ and sadly, it isn’t available to buy as it has been built specially for the brewery, so basically, we’ll all have to wait to see if this catches on and that our pubs start stocking them.
While actual volume of beer quaffed has not been measured here, recent research has found that the UK pays more in beer duty than 16 major European countries put together (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland in case you are interested). In fact, with the exception of our Oktoberfesting friends, small regions of the UK beat most European countries into a top hat on the beer duty stakes. Even the world’s biggest (per capita) beer drinking nation the Czech Republic is drunk under the (beer tax) table by the North East alone. And not just because Andy lives there.
Of course, the high levels of beer duty in the UK are not the only reason we are topping the charts- continental types drink a lot of wine as well, for example, but the scale of the tax compared to our near neighbours is certainly eye-opening.
And the ever-increasing, inflation-beating levels of beer duty, which has increased by over 40% since 2008, is having an effect in the pumps and in the pubs. Heineken recently announced that John Smith’s Extra Smooth bitter will be reduced from 3.8 per cent alcohol to 3.6 per cent, while simultaneously increasing the price of the beer by 2.5p a pint. The manufacturers claim their research suggests the alcohol reduction does not compromise on the taste, but coincidentally, the change will save them over £6.6 billion a year in beer duty.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the BBPA Chief Executive said:
“The scale of UK beer tax compared with our near neighbours shows that the Government’s tax policy does not make sense. With more sustainable levels of taxation, we could be creating jobs, and UK brewing would be a bigger manufacturing success story. We need a review now of this policy, as Parliament has rightly requested.”
Delicious, maddening, best friend of the bus-stop boozer – Special Brew – could be coming to an end, along with Tenant’s Tennent’s Super, Kestral Kestrel Super Strength and other beers and ciders with an alcohol volume above 6.5%.
And it all begins in Suffolk, where the police want to stop shops from selling the drinks. Tesco and Co-op have already signed up and will no longer be the friend of the alcoholic. McColl newsagents and some off-licences have also decided to take spesh off the shelves.
Cheapo spirits will invariably still get sold though, so worry not.
Area commander Andrew Mason said super booze was available for as little as 69p, which he described as “pocket money”. He continued: ”We’re going to visit the premises and ask them to make a voluntary variation to their licence, which has a licence condition that they can’t sell it – which makes it future proof.”
Andrew Cleveland, operations manager for drug and alcohol charity Norcas, said: ”It’s a positive step in the way that it will target a specific area. But what really has to happen is not just this as one intervention, we need to make sure there is other support there as well.”
Goodnight sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Science is your friend. It makes your TV a magical talking box and cures you of cow pox. Science is also working hard to make drinking beer a much better experience. And those fiendish swine at Hahn (us neither) have showcased the work done by boffins in their latest commercials. Which happen to be rather funny. Hark as a solution to having you pint spilled is shared.
And there’s more…
For more, click over the jump
It’s not often that we give you a double dose of Commercial Break fun in the same day, but this one trickled on to our Twitter timeline a little bit earlier and made us do big smiles right across our stupid boozy faces.
From New Zealand, and as an attempt to flog some kind of brew called DB Export, it’s a reminder that men DON’T have to have wine. They’ve never had to have wine – it was just something that happened without any of us noticing. Beer is still here and everything is going to be alright. Yes, everything is going to be alright. Beer. Mmmmm….
Beer. You like it don’t you. It makes you better looking. It makes you a superior dancer. It enables you to ooze charm. It absolutely, unequivocally makes you a tremendous lover. Why, if it wasn’t for the headache the morning after, it’d be perfect.
However, beer looks like it will be going up in price, AGAIN! And it could be as much as 15p a pint!
The people at Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns have announced that they’ll be increasing the prices they charge tenants. To you, that means price rises in upward of 11,000 pubs. That’s a fifth of all the pubs in Britain.
Enterprise Inns blamed higher bills from Coors and Carlsberg as it raised prices up by an average of 5 per cent, which they’ll have to pass on. Meanwhile, a Punch Taverns memo seen by The Sun shows its prices will climb by up to 12 per cent from February 20.
This is a lovely price rise that comes before another inevitable price rise come the Budget. This could mean that a pint of Carlsberg could cost you nearly £4 in some instances and, to be frank, you may as well drink your own urine for free in that case.
We’re all familiar with the idea of top Hollywood star nipping sloping popping over to Japan in order to make a few cool million yen by starring in some credibility-crushing ad that few in the western world will ever get to see.
Now top Hollywood star Will Ferrell has done the opposite, travelling to Davenport, Iowa to star in some ads for their local Old Milwaukee beer. Apparently Ferrell came up with the ads himself and did it all for no fee (but presumably got a few cans of beer to take home with him). Hats off to him.
The idea that the ads won’t be seen by a wider audience still applies though – this campaign is only running in and around the Davenport area. And if the ads don’t tickle your funny ribs, here’s Will Ferrell as Harry Caray, interviewing Jeff Goldblum about outer space. It’s never not hilarious.
We all like free stuff, and there’s no one who likes free stuff more than criminals. However, in Derbyshire recently, their yearning for free stuff has been the undoing of some nineteen suspected criminals, who were lured into a state of arrest with the promise of free beer.
Derbyshire Constabulary lured the suspected baddies into their arrest net by sending them letters, inviting them to ring a ‘marketing company’ and claim a ‘free crate of beer’. You can see where this is going can’t you?
Once they rang the ‘marketing company’, the hoodlums were put through to Chesterfield police station and arrangements were made with them for the delivery of their ‘free beer’. Once the police knew where they would be and when, they merely turned up with their special metal arresting mitts and threw them into the backs of some panda wagons.
Chief Inspector Graham McLaughlin, who was in charge of the ingenious operation, smirked like a bastard as he said: “These suspects are people who have managed to evade arrest for some time, so we have used different tactics to find them. It has been very cost-effective as it can take a lot of time and money to track people down. We use a variety of methods to arrest those suspected of committing criminal offences and we will continue to use new tactics when necessary.”
Hurrah for the police! Down with crime! Let’s all have some beer!
The Czech brewers of Budvar can officially continue to use the Budweiser name in the UK following a ruling in Europe’s highest court. Presumably those ruling on the beers did a taste test and decided that the American piss-vendors could go whistle.
The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Budejovicky Budvar was entitled to use the famous Budweiser name because, essentially, UK drinkers aren’t complete idiots and are “well aware of the difference” between the two beers and that Bud makers AB InBev aren’t likely to suffer any adverse effect, business-wise.
“The two brands have co-existed in the UK for decades, differing in taste, price and get-up,” said Mark Blair, who represented Budvar. “The identical nature of the Budweiser marks is an honest, historical co-incidence and causes no significant confusion amongst UK consumers.”
“This is a strong endorsement of Budvar’s right to the name in the UK. It also sends a clear message that you cannot simply cancel a trade mark that has been used for 30 years in good faith.”
The American Bud, which no self respecting human should ever willingly drink, will have to bumble on with its talking frogs and jock strap idiots burping the word BREWSKI while proper beer drinkers enjoy a proper pint.
Away from Bud and onto a different, yet equally pointless tipple, you’ll be thrilled to learn that Carlsberg have had to cut the scarce alcohol content in Skol in a bid to take advantage of changes to the domestic duty regime. It’s gone from a laughable 3% abv to a frankly pathetic 2.8%.
You may as well buy Bass Shandy.
As we reported in June, the price of beer is galloping ahead of inflation, and with raw ingredient costs rising too, there looked to be no light at the end of the beer tunnel. But never fear, Bitterwallet is here with the solution. Cheaper beer.
Now, you are probably thinking there is a catch*, and you would be right. You see, breweries have been fiddling about and inventing new beers ever since March when the Chancellor announced that the tax on beer with a strength of 2.8% ABV or less would be cut by 50%
The reduced tax, coupled with the higher tax on the high-strength beers favoured by desperate Bitterwallet staff, could make weaker beers 50p a pint cheaper than their higher-strength counterparts. And brewers are anticipating an unprecedented surge in popularity from those looking to save a fiver a night.
However, the biggest problem with low-alcohol beer is that it tastes like piss. Apparently. I have never actually drunk piss. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. “It’s certainly a challenge,” said John Keeling, head brewer at Fuller’s, who make London Pride. “Alcohol content comes from the malt. The more malt you use, the more alcohol content you have, and malt gives flavour. If you want to brew a weak beer, you can’t use lots of malt.”
According to Mr Keeling, the growing market for weaker beer is not just because it is cheaper.”People want to drink different strength drinks at different times of day. With lunchtime drinking increasingly frowned upon, drinkers want a weaker beer with their lunch than they would after work or at home.” Wimps.
But perhaps we are being hasty here, after all, a blind taste survey conducted at the Campaign for Real Ale’s Great British Beer Festival in London this week are encouraging. A panel of eight experienced beer tasters, buyers and brewers were asked to rank six beers, ranging in strength from 2 to 3.5 per cent, in order from highest to weakest.
The collated results placed Brodie’s Stout as the second strongest when it was actually the weakest, at 2 per cent. Fuller’s is holding another tasting trial next week for its 2.8 per cent beer.
Camra’s survey also concluded that 52 per cent of drinkers would consume a lower-strength beer if it were available in their local. Among the tasting panel, all said they would drink a low-alcohol beer if it were 50p cheaper.
We never said it was a shining light at the end of the tunnel.
And if you need any further help in working out your beer and fag finances, why not try the vice-o-meter which not only depresses you by telling you how much your vices cost you every year, but then incites hara kiri by then working out how much the government is getting in tax. Not that it’s like a Daily Mail website to incite outrage or anything you understand.
*The clue was in the title.