I usually don't tackle problem drinking on this blog, as others such as Tyson and Curmudgeon do it so much better, but I will give it a go for once. It seems to me that our politicians are getting extremely muddled on alcohol. Did I say "getting?" Of course I should be saying they "have got", or if I was American, "have gotten" extremely confused.
As Tyson points out in his blog, minimum pricing isn't the answer to Britain's alcohol problem, if problem there be. From my point of view, reducing overall consumption might well be though. So what do we hear today? We hear from the British Beer and Pub Association that alcohol consumption in 2009 saw the sharpest year-on-year decline since 1948. The 6% drop was the fourth annual decline in five years.
Despite our alleged propensity to drink too much, we consume less than the EU average and 13% less alcohol than in 2004. So the continual banging on about over indulgence is actually having the desired effect. We are, as a whole, drinking less every year and repeating our drinking less year on year. If you like to put it another way, the messages are getting through. This sits rather oddly with minimum pricing which will not affect the behaviour of those with a problem. The general trend is down, so maybe those that like to tax the poor out of a much needed drink, might like to turn their attentions on those that are actually causing themselves harm?
That of course would mean looking at ways to tackle the actual problem rather than tar all drinkers with the same brush. It would mean looking a lot more closely at a lot of very complex issues, to which there is unlikely to be a simple answer. Fat chance of doing that. That's too difficult. Better simply to jack the price up for everyone and put windfall profits into the big supermarkets, who some would say, are guilty of causing much of the availability of cut price drink and therefore the problem, in the first place. From the pub goer's point of view, this is a superficially attractive solution, but then again, I believe the Trojan Horse was a bit of a looker too. Don't be fooled. This is thin end of the wedge stuff.
An interesting side snippet; in 2009, the UK ale market increased its market share of all beers for the first time since the 1960s. Hooray!
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.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
Read my information and links and then decide for yourself. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes.
If you wish to email me you can do so by using this address: tandleman[at]yahoo.co.uk
These are the life blood of any blog. Please feel free to comment. I do not practice censorship if you stick to the point, but personal insults are frowned upon and may result in deletion. Anonymous entries may have the piss taken out of them or be deleted.
Beer samples are welcome, but I cannot guarantee a good review. You, the brewer, on the other hand can.
I do not currently accept adverts on this site, but if you feel so inclined, make me an offer. If you wish me to wear your brewery stuff, great. XXL please
The contents of this blog represent the personal views of the author only. They do not represent CAMRA policy in any way whatsoever.
The contents of this site and individual articles may not be reproduced in whole without the express permission of the author and will require an appropriate credit. Extracts may be reproduced with a credit to the author.