Friday, 24 August 2012

What's The Matter With Beer Drinkers?


Thanks to William Lees-Jones of Lees Brewery, I learn that Virgin Trains have reached their 100,000 e-petition target in just about a week.  A week! They want the Government's decision to award the West Coast Mainline franchise to First to be reviewed. I am quite sympathetic to that aim - Virgin run a pretty good (but bloody expensive) service and there are doubts about First's ability to deliver on its promises,  but really?  Clearly so many people think Virgin so fantastic that they sign the e-petition in their thousands.  Why? It really beggars belief.

It seems that many more people care about a possible future problem on the West Coast Mainline train franchise than care about the excessive duty on beer in this country. The e-petition on beer is still struggling at around 80,000, after weeks of earnest endeavour. CAMRA members could have done this in a trice, but they are the minority of beer drinkers. Where is everyone? There are far more beer drinkers than Virgin West Coast passengers, but clearly they don't feel as motivated.  What is going on?

Nobody cares after all it seems.  Except Virgin passengers. There's nowt queerer than folk.

I haven't signed the Virgin petition. Not that sorry the Grinning Bearded One is going to get no more of my money, but will no doubt be picking up a bill in due course when it all goes tits up. Lose/lose situation.

 

16 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

1. Lack of mass-media exposure. No national newspaper or TV channel has taken it up

2. To the man (or woman) in the pub, the issue isn't as clear-cut as you or I might think. It isn't a simply snappy either/or

Tandleman said...

I agree it isn't clear cut. Sometimes not so sure about it myself - especially after reading Ted Bruning's letter in What's Brewing.

Nonetheless trying to get a debate - even if shot down must be worthwhile to CAMRA members at least surely?

mk-fez said...

Also many camr-oids don't use (or like) the Internet and can't be bothered to sign the e-petition

Curmudgeon said...

I would say we are still some way off the point where increasing duty leads to an absolute decline in revenue, so perhaps that isn't the most convincing argument for it.

Cooking Lager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cooking Lager said...

There is no indication that a duty cut would reduce on trade prices. Look at the prices of soft drinks for which there is no duty.

Hence any tax cut would go into brewers and publicans pockets. Such shortfalls made up by the general taxpaying base. You may like that idea, seems not enough of you do, though.

Tandleman said...

Oddly - see above - I agree with you. I doubt that there should be a duty cut, but the escalator should go. Duty and VAT are still a manageable component in pricing. One major problem in pubs is debt. any duty changes would go to service that rather than the customer.

Still reckon a debate is worthwhile though.

Publican Sam said...

Apathy ... it's the new ...

Paul Bailey said...

Leaving all other arguments aside, CAMRA has 140,000 members and there should have been no trouble reaching the 100,000 target months ago!

Curmudgeon said...

It's just gone over 90,000 this morning - currently 90,004.

A very good way of promoting it would be to put details on cans and bottles, but presumably the brewers are frightened to do that because it may be seen as compromising the "responsibility deal". Even Hobgoblin, who originally started it.

RedNev said...

Paul Bailey is correct: CAMRA is a campaign and its members should have been ready, eager even, to spend the few seconds it takes to sign the petition.

Cooking Lager said...

It may be a campaign, Nev, but how many of the old codgers that make up its numbers know what an "e-petition" is? or have internet access.

If you build an army, train your soldiers with the guns you are using.

RedNev said...

You and your stereotypes, CL. Most CAMRA members I know aren't old codgers and, funnily enough, nearly all of those who might fit that discourteous description are able to use computers - and do so.

Curmudgeon said...

And Dickie English (who is certainly of codgerish age) can use a computer, as he explains at considerable length in the latest What's Brewing.

90,490 now, so putting on about 500 signatures a day.

Well done on getting the article printed, btw, Nev :-) Is it worth reproducing as a blogpost?

RedNev said...

Thanks, Curmudgeon; actually it was adapted from something I posted in April.

Stono said...

according to the cask report there were 8.6million cask ale drinkers in the UK last year, so thats approx 8.45million who are missing in action regards the petition if you discount CAMRA members, and thats just cask ale

I think the biggest problem for the petition is not just getting the issue explained in the media properly, who all roundly reported a freeze on beer duty during the budget this year, but also making sure its understood its not just a CAMRA issue, its beer/pub industry wide, if you keep it narrow focussed, unlike the Virgin issue which has turned into some pseudo nationwide debate about rail transport & the government, it doesnt strike the chord with people.

and the point is go into any one of the 60,000 pubs in the UK, how many are making this a big issue, how many have the posters or beer mats up or are encouraging customers to sign up. Even landlords seem vaguely disinterested about it all as just another thing they have to deal with, and its hard not to see their point if they know some pubs charge >£4+ for a pint successfully whilst they cant sell enough at <£2.50

even then I dont think the number who have signed is the problem, the problem is going to be the debate itself, because if you take the Beer duty escalator debate they had earlier in July as an example of what were going to get, Chloe Smith mere days after being made to look completely out of her depth by Jeremy Paxman, totally trounced every MP who stood up and made a point,because none of them had the numbers to unpick the governments arguments for keeping the escalator in place, and frankly none of them really made the effort to either.