I like beer. In fact, I like most beers. Common or garden lager is OK as a thirst quencher on a hot day or when it is something a little special (i.e. brewed by Belgian monks and fermented in nun’s wimples) but most of all I like what are known as ‘session’ beers or ales. These are cask ales and bitters that can be supped slowly and steadily throughout a pleasant evening’s discourse or banter without one sliding to the floor and into the arms of Morpheus. Sadly, with 70% of modern days drinkers opting to drink gas keg lagers and the like, such ales are continually under threat as the big combines that dominate brewing in Europe find them troublesome and expensive to brew. Whilst the latter day Boddingtons Draught is not a patch on the namesake of days gone by, the decision by InterBrew to transfer manufacture away from it’s home in Manchester in order to “ensure the long-term future and success of our business and protect the broader base of our 3,000 employees” seems like the thin end of the wedge to me – and Andy, who has proposed a boycott of Interbrew products such as Boddingtons, Stella Artois and Becks. This may seem like small beer but if such moves meet with no resistance, we will not only lose decent volume-produced ale, we’ll also lose valuable parts of our heritage, leaving ale drinkers reliant upon the excellent but always vulnerable small independent breweries to produce and, more crucially, distribute an affordable pint. With the big brewers maintaining what is effectively a stranglehold on beer distribution in the UK, drinkers are limited to those beers that a landlord can get delivered in a cost-effective manner, neatly sidelining most small producers in one move. Heaven help the small independent or microbrewery then, who makes a successful ale, for they will become a prime target for takeover… and so the cycle begins again.
How can you lend your weight? Here’s how:
- If you drink beer, don’t drink Boddingtons, Stella Artois or Becks.
- Regardless of what you drink, sign the ‘Save The Cream‘ petition.
- In the long term, think about what you drink and where you drink it – if you have only ever drunk high street/chain pub beers, try something a little different, you’ll be in for a treat. CAMRA, the CAMpaign for Real Ale, have guides to good pubs and great beer.
Bottoms up! Prost! Skol! Cheers!
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