Mudgie has published a link to a highly dubious account of so called goings on at CAMRA in Cornwall. Like most of these rants, it is full of drivel about what the writer hears and assumes and various other things like that, not what he knows, can verify, or can quote. In a response, RedNev has demolished him in a few sentences. Of course it is highly entertaining - even I find it so - to read about these CAMRA branches that are run as secret societies, where everything is done behind the scenes, in (formerly smoke filled) rooms, with nods and winks. Everyone with half an ounce of brains knows this is simply not so.
Anyway, I digress. What I did note within the fairy tale, was that hoary old fable about JD Wetherspoon only buying short date beer. This has so much credence among the gullible, that when interviewed by Roger Protz , Chairman Tim Martin felt obliged to deny it without Roger even asking. He pointed out that they make a lot less on each cask sold, but simply sell a lot more casks. Pile it high and sell it cheap still works.
Going back to short dated beer, I wonder about this. Now of course, like milk in a supermarket, some is likely to be nearer its sell by date than others, but unlike milk, it isn't so likely to go off. To me, buying beer that is short dated would be tricky. How would one set about such a task. Ring up a brewer and say "Keep me some beer back that you can't sell and I'll buy it at a discount." Would that work if you have 800 or so high turnover pubs? I kind of doubt it. Would it work if you had one pub? I kind of doubt it too. In fact, clearly if you think about it, the idea you could run a business like that is plain bonkers.
I've looked after thousands of casks of beer in my time and yes, I have had the odd short dated cask and the odd one that has clearly had the label removed or changed. What I do and no doubt most, if not all cellarmen do, is keep a very careful eye on it and if it turns out remotely dodgy, it goes back for a refund.
CAMRA and JDW. Fellow travellers in the sleight of hand? Hardly.
Incidentally Tim Martin also says about minimum pricing: “It’s not tackling the problem. Supermarkets would continue to undermine
beer in pubs. There’s not a snowball’s chance of minimum pricing benefiting pub customers." Too true Timbo.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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