So, 2012: Was it Maltier?

Following Charlie (Guardian scourge of the resolution) Brooker, as I was, at the beginning of 2012, I didn’t make predictions, but rather “6 wishes for a maltier 2012”. What happened?

Here’s the original list:
1. A bigger range of bottled beers in pubs
2. Hike the price of good (craft) beer in pubs
3. Think big, drink small
4. Breweries and distillers: tell us what’s in the bottle
5. Buy stuff from specialist retailers
6. More food and beer together

As we head off into the wild, known-unknown that is 2013, did the wishes come true?
1. A bigger range of bottled beers in pubs

(Text from original post indented)

Especially pubs serving food. OK, most of the point of a British pub is to drink the fine draft beers. Increasing the range of bottled beers will allow a pub to serve a much greater diversity of styles to suit the dishes they serve. Take a leaf out of Leeds Brewery/The Midnight Bell collaboration, as seen in my post on Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain programme on Channel 4. And pubs: offer beers you can’t get in the supermarket. You’ll be able to charge more. And while I’m on that subject…

Wish-fulfilment score: 2/10.
Outside of the Euston Taps, Casks, and Crafts of this world, I haven’t seen a great deal of change. With the exception of Fullers pubs, where they have taken to often stocking bottled versions of Black Cab Stout and 1845. The point remaining that a diverse range of bottled beers would suit a pub with a halfway-decent food side. I strongly suspect there is margin to be made, here.

2. Hike the price of good (craft) beer in pubs

What do you mean the Chancellor already did? Leave the ordinary stuff alone. but make good cask and craft keg reassuringly expensive, to recall an old campaign. Well, a bit dearer, anyway. What do you mean people will just stay at home and pay supermarket prices? What do people pay for a bottle of Becks in a pub, £3.50?  That’s like seven quid a pint. For Becks. Don’t even get me started on wine. Stand up for being the premium products they are. I’d much rather more money went to the great small breweries we have in the UK. Excellence should be rewarded.

Wish fulfilment score: Match abandoned.
In the wake of the campaign to abolish the beer duty escalator, and the rate of closure of pubs, this is a hard one to reconcile. I am still persuaded that good, modern beer costs more to make, and therefore should cost more to the customer. The problem being how to attract customers to pubs in the first place what with unfair competition from Supermarkets.

3. Think big, drink small

When it comes to the bigger beers, pints are for wimps. Yes, that’s right; it’s halves that are for the daring. And thirds are for superheroes. Don’t chicken out and have a pint for your man/womanhood. Your brain, liver, and palate will thank you for that half of ESB. You can then “afford” a snifter of Magic Rock Human Cannonball. If only pubs and bars had more third pint glasses…

Wish fulfilment score: 8/10.
I, largely, kept my side of the bargain. But have two-third pint and thirds caught on? Not really. Aside from BrewDog bars, where they are very good at serving measures appropriate to the beer strength and style. I still get into conversations where someone remarks how “strong” a 5.7% beer is. It is if you’re drinking 6 pints! (And I’m not doing that!)

Come back tomorrow for Part 2.

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