Many thanks to all that replied to my wonderings about the price of craft keg. A couple of observations from me. One is that debating the thing on a blog is not made easier by the same debate being carried on simultaneously on Twitter. Some great comments were made on Twitter, but I certainly didn't have time to trawl them all together and add them into the blog mix. Is this just the way it goes? I suppose so, but it would have been more comprehensive if it could have all been done on the same social media, but I suppose, sadly, that's yesterday's thinking.
The second is that it seemed from the replies that there is a genuine concern about prices. Justifications by the chargers to the chargees seemed rather tenuous, not wholly convinving and appeared to indicate that there are limits for most that commented and those limits are already being pushed. The exercise was, I think, very informative, but to see it all played out, we'll just have to wait and see. I doubt that we've heard the last of that debate.
On the more general point of craft beer and bars, I was struck by the similarity to beer, with some of AA Gill's remarks about restaurants in this week's Sunday Times. Now love him or hate him, he is a guy that can turn a good phrase and he is quite an acute observer. Speaking of expensive restaurants he said "one of the social dividing lines of a city is between those that can afford to throw their credit cards onto the plate along with the bill and those who can't." And here is the key bit. "We like to hitch ourselves to things that are going well. It's a sort of social feng shui."He later went on to say( and while he was speaking of trendy restaurants, you could just think craft beer bar and local pub) "if you haven't got a hip corner, or if all your corners are boarded up charity shops, just keep going to KFC." His final remarks (and here I've substituted beer for food): This is smart muscly anti drinking that gives a lot of people exactly what they want with flair and good nature. But it's monosyllabic drinking. It's culty without being cultured, civil, but not civilised."
Now I don't think this does apply to beer in quite the same way, but if you stop and think about it, it does all kind of apply to the divide between craft beer and its devotees, as opposed to those that regard the whole thing with a hefty dose of scepticism. I guess that what is being said about trendy and upwardly mobile eating establishments, is that there will always be places that some simply can't afford, before you even start thinking of those that won't afford it. and that is simply how it is. Additionally, there are those for whom the Zeitgeist is more important than the price. That of course presupposes that place and time are more important than the product itself and I certainly wouldn't go that far.
Still, set in that context, since the world isn't fair, it can't really matter if beer in some places is ouchy on the wallet. Can it? Maybe there is some kind of app to pull twitter comments together?
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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