An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Monday, 12 September 2011

The Campaign

The Campaign for Cooking Lager (CAMCL) has always been a bit of a piss take. That however does not appear to stop us from winning. See this here. Supermarkets offering high value cheap grog appear to be winning. Pubs offering poor value expensive grog appear to be losing.

Some will shed a tear. I won't. Instead I offer a picture of the lovely Hayden Panettiere drinking some lovely lout to cheer you up.

When it comes to pubs I saw a sign outside my local Wetherspoons. The sign showed 2 popular brands of beer alongside prices significantly cheaper than any nearby boozer. The tagline? "Why pay more?"

I can't think of an answer. I can't think of a reason to pay more. Spoons it is then. If you can think of an answer, maybe you know how to save the boozers and can explain why the Spoons was the only gaff with any punters in.

The best bit of the article?

"The GMB has calculated that the average price of a pint of lager cost 93p at a pub in 1987. If it had risen in line with the Retail Prices Index measure of inflation it would now be £2.18, but in fact it has climbed to £3.09, making it unaffordable as a daily staple for many consumers, already hit by rising utility bills, petrol prices and salaries which have been frozen."

It's all in the price.


Curmudgeon said...

"Why pay more?"

Well, you might want to get served within fifteen minutes ;-)

Cooking Lager said...

I guess that also explains why the Spoons is full of punters and all the other more expensive pubs are empty. They are still waiting to be served in the Spoons. All the punters of the proper dumpy old mans pubs enjoyed efficient service, supped up and left.

On semi serious note, I do appreciate you like to blame the smoking ban for the decline of the pub trade but I don't think you can ignore pub pricing.

I suspect you, like me, work a decent job and are doing okay. Things are not so bad we can't say we can no longer afford the price of a pub pint.

However more earn less than average income than above it. Plenty of people rely on benefits. Plenty of folk have kids and things more important than necking beer.

Pubs are pricing themselves out and no amount of kyboshing supermarkets makes pubs more affordable.

Curmudgeon said...

I agree, Cookie, as I said here.

"in recent years, the pub trade hasn’t been helped by adopting a lazy and complacent pricing model that ignores market realities"

Steve Lamond said...

perhaps beer price would have risen in line with inflation without the increased in duty since 1987

Cooking Lager said...

A fair point Steve and very possibly. I think you can look at a number of reasons beyond the profiteering of Landlords. Pub companies & monopolistic behaviour is possibly a reason.

However I think it is important that when looking at the reason that reason does not become an excuse. An excuse is an acceptance that it is something the consumer has to live with. Then if you want to "save" pubs you fail to tackle the biggest reason why pubs are less appealing and blame either smoking bans or supermarket prices.

It is no surprise pubs and bars appear to be doing okay in posh areas and dying in rough areas. The smarter areas are more price resilient. The Spoons are popular in all areas.

If you want to save pubs what you need to do is forget supermarkets and smoking and look at the price of a pint. It doesn't have to be as cheap as Tesco, it just has to be reasonable.

Curmudgeon said...

But price, like the other factors mentioned, is only a partial explanation.

Cooking Lager said...

Where I suspect we differ is the weight given to those factors. I would weigh smoking bans as less significant than maybe you do whilst accepting they have made pubs inhospitable to many punters.

Increasing prices affects all punters. Gradually bit by bit pubs have reached a point where many punters consider it pricey to visit frequently. Pub enthusiasts possibly do not see that valuing pubs and beer higher. The middle class demographic of beer club campaigners actually do think a £3+ pint is great value and if it wasn't for Tesco people would flock to pubs. Less than a decade ago Sam Smiths prices were the norm.

For many people stagnant wages & rising gas bills are more a problem than the plight of pubs & a cheap bottle of tesco plonk a welcome pleasure in front of the telly.

Smokers may have left the pub, Mudge, but so have none smokers.

Rob Nicholson said...