Going Sober for October

mysoberThis year I’ve decided to do it. Don’t ask me why. I don’t mean that I’ve got no reason to do it, I just mean don’t ask me because I’ve already explained why on my donation page.

I realise there’s a certain kind of conflict in doing this, when so much of my life involves alcohol [in both business and pleasure], but I’m openly a man of contradictions, and I’m going to give it a go come what may.

I’ll be posting about aspects of it over on my other blog, but I just wanted to record it here, that it’s going ahead and to reassure all my many fans that I still have lots of notes to write up and old posts to publish, so providing I make the time, I’ll still be writing about beer, if not enjoying tasting it.

Sounds like masochism to me…

[Here’s that link again to my donation page, in case you missed it: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5]


Britain’s Beer Alliance Boosting Ale Awareness

If you haven’t seen it yet, click on the link to check out ‘There’s a Beer For That‘, an awareness advert paid for by Britain’s Beer Alliance. It’s basically to get people curious, or even excited, about ale in general, no particular brands or anything. The advert is the TV presence of the ‘There’s a Beer For That‘ campaign, which cost a cool ten million quid in all. You may think the Beer Alliance sounds like a group of superheroes, but they’re just regular heroes, from big companies such as Carlsberg, all the way to independent brewers.

Obviously I think it’s a great idea to try and raise the profile of ale in such a gentle, positive way. It’s a very ‘light’ advert, from the bright colours, to the music, to the message of enjoying [new] experience/s. I do have a couple of issues with it, though. Firstly, the food element. Whereas the clip does express that beer can go well with events [walking is the one mentioned] and the website mentions having company as a good time to glug, the overwhelming amount of material suggests trying beer with food. This is potentially offputting in a couple of ways – one is that it simply makes the experience more complex, having to find the pairings, having to buy/cook the food on top – the other is the negative connotation of pretention in drinkers and ‘foodies’ [which I can assure you we got none of here]. So if I’d’ve had a hand in making the advert, I suppose I would’ve made the food more of a secondary issue, but then I understand that talking about food offers more opportunity to find jaunty rhymes to make the pitch flow smoothly…

The second issue, less important than the first, is the music. I don’t think the tune fits in with the advert’s vibe. The song ‘Ooh La La’, with the lyrics “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger,” seems to suggest a great missed opportunity, a look back at what might have been, when the message of the advert, really, is to look forward and enjoy your life. I can’t help feeling that the ‘older voice looking back’ somehow fits in with the stereotype of ale drinkers as bitter old men with thick jumpers and a lot of contempt for modern life – an image I’m sure the Beer Alliance would love to be rid of. As for suggesting an improvement, I’m not too sure. All I know is that this is a great opportunity to link you to this Tom T Hall ‘classic’, ‘I Like Beer‘*.

.*My wish to adhere to the Drink Aware principles mean I must state that alcohol does not make you a ‘jolly good fellow’ – your mood and manners do that. Also, to unwind or feel mellow, you could also try going for a jog, reading a book or something.

Pubaid and Camra launch charity month


Camra have launched their latest self promotion initiative today, They have signed up with Pubaid to help them launch the pubs and charity month. This initiative has been going on for several years and last year raised more than 106 million for lots of different charities, That’s about £2742 per pub. I guess Camra didn’t like someone else getting the spotlight but its still nice to see them putting their marketing might behind this movement.

A recent study found that 85% of pubs were actively raising money for charity despite some very trying times for the pub industry as a whole, donations have increased by 5% since 2010. So given these figures, Camra will be encouraging pubs to host more charity events, Camra also feels this may help struggling pubs bring in lapsed business and help change the larger lout image that has become associated with many pubs.

Mike Benner, CAMRA’s chief executive, said:

CAMRA and PubAid feel it is time British pubs got the recognition for the amazing funds they raise for numerous charities across Britain. Pubs can get unfairly blamed for a lot of anti-social behaviour but often the alcohol that has led to these problems has not been drunk in pubs.

“The pub industry has been struggling in these tough economic times, but our new research shows all parties win if pubs run charity events. The charities get important funds, pubs get busier and the locals get some fun events to attend. We hope everyone will encourage their local pub to participate in July’s Pubs & Charity month and the community will support these activities.”

Des O’Flanagan, one of the co-founders of PubAid, said:

What other industry can demonstrate such generosity and selflessness in this economic climate? These results should act as a reminder that pubs are very much part of the fabric of our community and make a meaningful contribution.

“The PubAid team is dedicated to combatting the areas of the press and perception from some corners that view pubs as only having a negative contribution to society. We do this by sharing the work that pubs do for charitable causes. The contribution of licensees and their customers is made even more  amazing if you consider the financial pressure licensees and consumers are under at the moment.”

This venture has already proven a success for one big pub chain linked to camra, JD weatherspoons, which has raised 7 million pounds for CLIC Sargent, to help fight cancer.

Lorraine Clifton, chief executive of CLIC Sargent, said: “This is a towering achievement by J D Wetherspoon and it means everything to the children and young people and their families whom we look after. Every penny raised means we can help more children and young people and their families coping with cancer. That is priceless.”

this is a nice idea and i support it, hence why i wrote about it. Would you go to more pubs if they hosted charity nights?

Camra left red faced.

Camra was left a little red faced today and forced to apologize, We reported earlier this week about how many landlords are earning less that 10.000 pounds a year (here) well it turns out Camra may have gotten that figure slightly wrong.

Camra had earlier stated that 60% of landlords were earning less than 10.000 pounds when the figure should have been 57%. A slight round up error is easily forgiven though but Mr Tupin of Enterprise Inns found that most of his publicans could earn up to 37.000 pounds, far higher than what Camra had initially reported.

In a statement, CAMRA said: “In the analysis for large pub companies, the results relating to one large pub company were not included. CGA [which carried out the analysis] has now re-allocated responses for this company in the analysis and, as a result, the survey indicates that 57% of licensees tied to large pub companies earn less than £10,000 per year and 80% earn less than £15,000 per year. The compares with the 60% and 84% respectively announced by CAMRA last week. Having corrected this classification error, CGA has assured CAMRA of the robustness of the analysis.”

After correcting for this error it clear that the results were not effected in any real way.

Fair deal for locals only sees support growing


We reported a few days ago about the save are local campaign calls to reform the pubco system, Well they took their message to parliament recently and received a lot of support from all areas of government, Most importantly though was George Osbourne who was more than happy to stop and talk to the campaigners and have a few pics taken. This is good news and only builds on the success the campaign has had, When they first embarked on this campaign 109 MPS signed up immediately and now their support only grows.

The fair deal for locals is a collection of 10 organisations including Camra that are actively campaigning for a fairer deal for landlords. They are calling on politicians to change the rules so that breweries cant take more than their fair share and charge over inflated beer prices. It looks to be working a swell because the government has pledged to introduce a code of practices for the big brewers which will only allow them to take enough from the pub that will allow it to while still remaining profitable, This should make it easier for landlords to make a living and stop the wide spread closure of pubs.