Before I went off to London for a break, I asked the landlord of the Baum, Simon, how winning CAMRA National Pub of the Year had affected business. A red faced regular butted in "It's ruined the place on Friday and Saturdays - it's full of young local people looking for alcopops". It seems that a piece (which I haven't seen, but if it is the same as this, fairly harmless I'd have thought)in the Rochdale Observer, has attracted much attention from local drinkers, who have subsequently come in for a look. Good news you'd have thought, but it seems these aren't, shall we say, the usual discerning customer the Baum is used to. The are looking for Fosters and Blue WKD, cheap lager by the bottle, lurid drinks enhanced by caffeine and loud thrumming music. The Baum doesn't offer any of these.
Now as someone whose own local has been from time to time, almost taken over by outsiders, I can see where the regular is coming from. You get used to your pub being a certain way and with the same faces and enjoy the steady familiarity of place and people. It is why you come in the first place. You feel ill at ease when that appears to be challenged. You unconsciously adopt a kind of proprietorial sense of "mine".
Simon was much calmer though. He doesn't sell the kind of drinks his new temporary customers want. He feels it will be a short term phenomenon as folks revert to places that sell what they like, but they've been for a look and as long as they behave, why not? The daytime business though has brought many more of the usual Baum types from far and wide as evidenced by his new visitor's book. It will all settle down and he is right; nobody continually visits a pub where what it sells and the type of company therein isn't what they are comfortable with. The Blue WKD mob will pass and hopefully the honour of being National Pub of the Year will bring good new business of a kind that is in keeping with the pub and its regulars. I am sure it will.
Nonetheless an interesting and unexpected development.
All pubs tend to get a sudden influx for various reasons from time to time, but it almost always settles down. It is sometimes a mystery where these folks come from. Or why. Less so in this case.
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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