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Richard English
03-18-2004, 10:11 AM
Although England has many of the world's finest beers and is certainly the country where the largest range of cask-conditioned beers is still available in most pubs and bars, we are a strange crowd.

Although cask beer is so readily available and of such high quality, most beer sold is chemical fizz (and only 20% decent beer). And I cannot for the life of me understand why. It's certainly not price.

In Wetherspoons Victoeria today I drank a pint (Imperial) of Luddite Porter at £1.89 ($2.34 of your sadly devalued US dollars). I could, had I wished to do so, had an Imperial pint of Greene King Abbot for just £1.69 ($2.09) or a pint of Fuller's London Pride - a classic beer with few rivals for just £1.99 ($2.46)

But what were the majority drinking? Stella Artois (pseudo-Belgian, brewed in the UK by Whitbread), Kronenburg (pseudo Dutch, brewed in the UK by Whitbread) Fosters (pseudo Australian, brewed in the UK by WMTB). Ghastly chemical fizz costing £2.49 ($3.09) for an Imperial pint. And A-B Budweiser was even more.

Can nobody knock some sense into my countrymen's heads? Apart from joining CAMRA I can think of nothing else I can do to save them from themselves!

Beaver
03-18-2004, 10:20 AM
Wow, beer is pretty cheap over there. Around here, it usually costs about $3.50 - $4 for a US pint. At the place I was at last night, I thnk the Guinness and Beamish were $4.75.

Tweek
03-18-2004, 10:24 AM
I agree it is a stange phenomena. It is hard to understand how my palate could be so much diferent than the masses. I think sometimes it is a matter of education, that is they have no experience with "those other" beers. Many times I think it is what they like. It is simple cold and I have hear many people call it refreshing. For some it is all the want, they dont want to think about it, just drink it.

MeridianFC
03-18-2004, 10:24 AM
Whilst I do believe that "no one is a hypocrite in their pleasure", as I'm sure there are some people who legitimately enjoy the contract brewed Stella or bottles of Bacardi Breezers, my guess is a lot of people just don't know any better. Like you I was amazed at how cheap and well kept the beer at the Wetherspoons is. There's also good regional variety (the beers I had in Glasgow were different than in Croydon). I don't think there will ever be a complete shift to quality drinking in Britain (or the US or Germany or etc) for the same reason people still eat at McDonalds; it's cheap, readily available, consistent, and in the end most people don't care that much. What is at issue, and I think we agree on this, is the degree to which fizz dominates. Mamoth "brewers" like A-B, Interbrew, S&N controlling the market in orders of magnitude more than all the regional, micros, brewpubs combined seems a bit, well 1984ish.

I take to heart something Michael Jackson said a while ago. I'll paraphrase as I can't remember it exactly but it went "you can't win folks over to drinking good beer by telling them what they're drinking is piss". It make good sense. You put people on the defensive because you make them look stupid for doing something they are enjoying. Sure, they could increase their enjoyment by having a craft brewed real ale, but they're not even going to try if you make them look like a fool. I will say this is something I struggle with because my feelings toward most major brewers borders on the pathological.

Richard English
03-18-2004, 10:45 AM
Quote "...Wow, beer is pretty cheap over there. Around here, it usually costs about $3.50 - $4 for a US pint. At the place I was at last night, I think the Guinness and Beamish were $4.75..."

Wetherspoons is one of the cheapest places around, of course. The Guinness there was $3.09 for an Imperial pint (that's 1.201 US pints) - so well under $3 for a US pint.

Just think, with airfares now so low (I am paying under $500 for a return to Chicago) you could probably save the airfare in a month of serious boozing! And of course, if the dollar gets stronger...

Beaver
03-18-2004, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by Richard English
Quote "...Wow, beer is pretty cheap over there. Around here, it usually costs about $3.50 - $4 for a US pint. At the place I was at last night, I think the Guinness and Beamish were $4.75..."

Wetherspoons is one of the cheapest places around, of course. The Guinness there was $3.09 for an Imperial pint (that's 1.201 US pints) - so well under $3 for a US pint.

Just think, with airfares now so low (I am paying under $500 for a return to Chicago) you could probably save the airfare in a month of serious boozing! And of course, if the dollar gets stronger...

I really want to hit England and Ireland sometime! If I went by myself, my family would probably be pretty ticked though. And it would take a ton of beer to equal 4 plane tix! :)

Theakston
03-18-2004, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by Richard English
Quote "...Wow, beer is pretty cheap over there. Around here, it usually costs about $3.50 - $4 for a US pint. At the place I was at last night, I think the Guinness and Beamish were $4.75..."

Wetherspoons is one of the cheapest places around, of course. The Guinness there was $3.09 for an Imperial pint (that's 1.201 US pints) - so well under $3 for a US pint.

Just think, with airfares now so low (I am paying under $500 for a return to Chicago) you could probably save the airfare in a month of serious boozing! And of course, if the dollar gets stronger...

And of course you could save even more if you went to Manchester: prices in London can be up to 50% higher than in the sticks. Wetherspoons are good value but not if you compare the price to a "tied" pub from a regional northern brewer such as Holts.

One point worth noting is that pub prices are more often much lower than the price of a bottle in your "paint store" in the UK. The reverse is generally true in the USA.

Theakston
03-18-2004, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by MeridianFC
Croydon.
?:eek:!?

Beaver
03-18-2004, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by Theakston

One point worth noting is that pub prices are more often much lower than the price of a bottle in your "paint store" in the UK. The reverse is generally true in the USA.

That's very interesting. Any idea why this is so? It does seem rather intuitive. I wonder why there is so much mark-up in bars in the US? Do they have more overhead than elsewhere?

bigmf
03-18-2004, 12:26 PM
I think there are a couple of factors in the choice of beers in your country, Richard. I think many people drink Budweiser over there for the same reason that people drank Corona over here some years back. Its a badge; people want to be seen with a bottle and a label in front of them rather than some non-descript pint of beer. They can't afford the expensive sports car, suits or what have you but they can spend an extra buck on a beer. It always seems that people take to import beers when they want that kind of thing. Look really closely next time you are at the pub, the real try-hards will have the label pointing out. Advertising plays into the image these people think they are portraying to the outside world. Personally I hate it when I can't get some kind of draft beer rather than a can or bottle.

The other issue in my mind is the refreshment beer category. There are a lot of people who drink beer as a refreshment rather than an enjoyment drink. Say what you want about Corona and Bud, but they are refreshing (much like ice water). Most people don't drink beer for the same reasons as those like us on this board. If you came in from mowing the lawn on a hot day, you probably would not have a pint of Luddite Porter or a Maudite in Canada or an Arrogant Bastard in the US. But in all of those places many would crack open a Bud. I guess to make a long story short we are coming from a totally different point of view or (although the term has become extremely overused) paradigm. I go for a glass of ice water to cool down, and would enjoy a beer after that.

It feels good to rant. Let me know if you think I made any good points or if I am full of crap. :rolleyes:

Matt

denver brewhoo
03-18-2004, 01:27 PM
"....for the same reason people eat at McDonald's...."

There's a McDonalds in Chelsea, on the King's Road, and it's packed full...never mind that a Big Mac and fries will, I'll bet (never went in), set you back more than, say, a full English directly across the street at the Chelsea Kitchen....not that the Chelsea Kitchen is fine dining, but still...

and these aren't just American tourists either. Astonishing!

mmmBeer...
03-18-2004, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by bigmf
The other issue in my mind is the refreshment beer category. There are a lot of people who drink beer as a refreshment rather than an enjoyment drink. Say what you want about Corona and Bud, but they are refreshing (much like ice water). Most people don't drink beer for the same reasons as those like us on this board. If you came in from mowing the lawn on a hot day, you probably would not have a pint of Luddite Porter or a Maudite in Canada or an Arrogant Bastard in the US. But in all of those places many would crack open a Bud. I guess to make a long story short we are coming from a totally different point of view or (although the term has become extremely overused) paradigm. I go for a glass of ice water to cool down, and would enjoy a beer after that.

It feels good to rant. Let me know if you think I made any good points or if I am full of crap. :rolleyes:

Matt

I agree with you on the first part…imagine is everything for some people.

But coming in from mowing the lawn here I would take one of my Hefes, Belgian wits, or California commons over a Blue, Canadian, Bud etc. any day!

But, this is just me and there are a lot of people out there that would disagree.

Richard English
03-18-2004, 02:04 PM
Quote "...And of course you could save even more if you went to Manchester..."

Manchester is a fine city and I have enjoyed many a pint of Hydes, Holts and Lees. The Marble Arch (in the Rochdale Road) is well worth a visit.

The price differential is now less than it was - largely due to Wetherspoons, it has to be said. I doubt you'd get a pint of Hydes (usually the cheapest in Manchester) for much under two pounds now - Wetherspoon's prices start at about £1.60 - even in London.

Away from Wetherspoon's, though, you'd be on about £2.50 a pint in London.

I don't quite understand about the comparison between pub and shop prices; in the UK the prices for bottled beer in a shop (store, liquor store) are about half the price of the same drink in a pub (in the South of England, at least) Of course, you can't buy draught beer in a shop. Are you saying that, in the USA, the pub prices are less than the shop prices?

So far as the "refreshment" aspect is concerned, it is a commonly held, but inaccurate belief, that Real Ale, be it draught of bottled, is alway heavy and strong (like Fuller's 1845, for example). That's just not true. There are many light draught and bottle-conditioned beers in the UK - it's just that they are not advertised and people don't know about them.

Welton's Pride and Joy at 2.7% or Harvey's Mild at 3% are both excellent, refreshing and highly quaffable ales - to name but two from dozens.

MeridianFC
03-18-2004, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by Theakston
?:eek:!?

My really good friends live in SE19. There's actually a nice little strip of pubs just up from them, including a Wetherspoon's outift. I'm not advrerse to a wee nip at said pub and quick run up to Selhurst Park to watch what passes for football down there.

MeridianFC
03-18-2004, 02:16 PM
Originally posted by Richard English

I don't quite understand about the comparison between pub and shop prices; in the UK the prices for bottled beer in a shop (store, liquor store) are about half the price of the same drink in a pub (in the South of England, at least) Of course, you can't buy draught beer in a shop. Are you saying that, in the USA, the pub prices are less than the shop prices?

The price of a bottle of beer in the US is always much more in a bar than a liquor/beer store, usually by 50% or more (depending on many factors).


So far as the "refreshment" aspect is concerned, it is a commonly held, but inaccurate belief, that Real Ale, be it draught of bottled, is alway heavy and strong (like Fuller's 1845, for example). That's just not true. There are many light draught and bottle-conditioned beers in the UK - it's just that they are not advertised and people don't know about them.

Welton's Pride and Joy at 2.7% or Harvey's Mild at 3% are both excellent, refreshing and highly quaffable ales - to name but two from dozens.

I think serving temprature comes into play here. Large swaths of the US are very hot, certainly much hotter, much longer than in the UK, so large numbers of people are looking to slake their thirst with something not very imposing served at mouth numbing temperatures.

I'm on your side, I'd rather have a 3.2% Deuchars than a 5% Bud any day.

studentofbeer
03-18-2004, 02:16 PM
Richard, the exact same thought ran through my head tonight as i sat in the Victoria pub that you suggested, drinking delicious cask fullers london pride and esb (boy the london pride is a whole different animal on cask than in the bottle, wow!)

anyway, i put down a pint and a half of london pride and a pint of esb, my girlfriend had a half of chiswick, but the majority of people in the bar were drinking icky lagers (carlsberg, carlings etc., wine, or white wine and soda water--what kind of drink is that?)

I have to agree that it seems just amazing that so many brits would choose to drink such inferior beer. what gives? i cant think of a thing to explain it except marketing and people's failing tastes. real ale must seem too old fashioned or something. anyway it was a dissapointment to witness so many drinking such poor beer. but the bartender poured a fine pint and i was happy for the night. looking forward to visiting some more pubs and helping consume some more real ale.

Wilson
03-18-2004, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by studentofbeer
...real ale must seem too old fashioned or something...

I remember getting a good ribbing from a bartender in Wales for drinking Beamish. He told me its thought of as an "old mans" drink. Like it was mentioned ealier, image is everything to many people.

bigmf
03-18-2004, 02:41 PM
Originally posted by Richard English
So far as the "refreshment" aspect is concerned, it is a commonly held, but inaccurate belief, that Real Ale, be it draught of bottled, is alway heavy and strong (like Fuller's 1845, for example). That's just not true. There are many light draught and bottle-conditioned beers in the UK - it's just that they are not advertised and people don't know about them.

Welton's Pride and Joy at 2.7% or Harvey's Mild at 3% are both excellent, refreshing and highly quaffable ales - to name but two from dozens.

I agree that most people wouldn't know that. I've had a Harvey's Mild a while back and I would take it over most of the stuff listed in your first post. I would not drink it for refreshment in the sense I used it before, but rather for enjoyment. It has too much flavor for me to just guzzle one down when I'm really thirsty.

I just don't agree with the tastes of the majority who drink such beers.

And "White wine with soda water"? - I wouldn't drink it with a stolen tongue. :D

Matt

Richard English
03-18-2004, 04:10 PM
Quote "...The price of a bottle of beer in the US is always much more in a bar than a liquor/beer store, usually by 50% or more (depending on many factors)...."

That's about the same as in the UK in my experience. A half-litre (about a US pint) of bottle-conditioned beer in a shop would be around £1.55; in a pub an Imperial pint probably £2.20. Having said which, some pubs will be more or less expensive and some shops will have special offers. But usually a shop will be cheaper than a pub.

MeridianFC
03-18-2004, 04:24 PM
I have a hard time getting a handle on that, at least as far as price, as it seems that in Britain drinking is very much geared towards the pub. I've noted, though it could be my own lack of familiarity with my surroundings over there, that off licenses are nowhere near as plentiful as liquor stores in the US, in fact they seem downright rare. The converse seems to hold true (UK Pubs seemingly outnumber US bars on a per capita basis). There are notable excpetions to this (New Orleans, Manhattan being two) where watering holes are very abundant but I think in general it holds true.

Theakston
03-18-2004, 04:25 PM
Originally posted by Richard English

I don't quite understand about the comparison between pub and shop prices; in the UK the prices for bottled beer in a shop (store, liquor store) are about half the price of the same drink in a pub (in the South of England, at least) Of course, you can't buy draught beer in a shop. Are you saying that, in the USA, the pub prices are less than the shop prices?

[/B]

Sorry to confuse, I can see that it could easily be misinterpreted, but what I meant was that a good pint of cask ale in the pub is generally cheaper than a bottle of beer from a shop in the UK. In the USA a draft will generally set you back more than the equivalent in a bottle from the shop ( a sixer from the store will generally set you back the same as 2 drafts from a bar).
In the UK even though the mass purchasing power of large supermarkets has narrowed the differential a bit I would assume that you can still get a decent pint in the pub for less than the equivalent drink in a bottle from a store . Here it is generally the reverse. (except for brewpubs occasional dollar beer nights).

Obviously the price on both sides of the pond is more for a bottle in the pub than a bottle at the store. So buying beer in a bottle in the pub is daft......even dafter if it is bud!

Richard English
03-19-2004, 02:05 AM
Quote "...I have a hard time getting a handle on that, at least as far as price, as it seems that in Britain drinking is very much geared towards the pub. I've noted, though it could be my own lack of familiarity with my surroundings over there, that off licenses are nowhere near as plentiful as liquor stores in the US, in fact they seem downright rare...."

I can clear up this confusion.

Drinking in England is very much geared to the pub, that is true. I make no secret of my firm belief than English pubs are the finest in the world.

However, there is much liquor - beer, wine and spirits - sold for home consumption. What might be confusing here is that we now have relatively few places that exist solely to sell drink, certailnly fewer than dedicated "liquor stores" in countries like the USA and Canada. And the reason is a simple one.

Since the liberalisation of the sale of alcohol for off-premise consumption, "off-licences" have been granted to just about any shop, store or supermarket that cares to apply and that could satisfy the authorities that it could comply with the rules regarding the sale of alcohol (to under-aged persons, for example).

Which means that every supermarket and most village shops will sell booze.

In Reigate, the small town in which I live, my local Safeway (a very small supermarket by US standards) sells wine from over thirty different countries and beer from over twenty. Spirits I buy less frequently but certainly they have around forty different kinds of Scotch - as well as bourbons and whisky liquers such as Drambuie.

Most visitors to a country, any country, tend not to visit local provisions stores, such as supermarkets, and, unless you were to go into one, you would have no idea of the cornucopia that exists behind the ordinary-looking facia.

wild
03-19-2004, 03:31 AM
As the saying goes… “Misery loves company.” I believe the same is true to the opposite. I tend to share the fruits of my labor with friends and those who understand little of the tastes of a fine brew. Isn’t it better to share these nuances only with people who could enjoy or even benefit from them?
If these masses that gorge themselves with macro swill, you’ve spoken of, were to suddenly acquire a taste for a better brew, what would be the impact be to the industry as we know it today? Would we not lose the handcrafted quality of the beers we enjoy today to low quality, mass-produced, off-the-rack piss? I say, “Let it be!” :D Take pride and solace in the fact that the enjoyment you’ve received in your last swallow of ale will be more powerful than anything felt from a pint of trash.

Richard English
03-19-2004, 03:46 AM
Quote "...Would we not lose the handcrafted quality of the beers we enjoy today to low quality, mass-produced, off-the-rack piss..."

I don't think that is necessarily true. Far more beer was drunk on a per-capita basis in the early 19th century than is the case today (partly because water quality was so suspect) - and mass-produced chemical fizz hadn't even been invented.

Beer was a local industry and there is no reason why it shouldn't be one again (as indeed is becoming the case with the craft-beer revolution in the USA and the micro-breweries in the UK). There is no earthly reason why beer (which is, after all, around 95% water) should be expensively carted for hundreds, or thousands of miles.

Herb Ninja
03-19-2004, 08:17 PM
Originally posted by Richard English
There is no earthly reason why beer (which is, after all, around 95% water) should be expensively carted for hundreds, or thousands of miles.

Except fine lambic. :D I say cart it away. Cart it all the way to the middle of the pacific. If that would mean I could get Cantillion, even if 20 or 25$ a bottle, I would still be happy to buy some.

I wouldn't want some brewery in Hawaii trying to replicate Cantillion is Belgium.

I think its cool that we have international beer trade. Peace, HN-

Richard English
03-20-2004, 04:31 AM
Quote "...Richard, the exact same thought ran through my head tonight as i sat in the Victoria pub that you suggested, drinking delicious cask fullers london pride and esb ..."

Yes. He serves a good pint there and yes, London Pride is better on draught than in bottle (it's not bottle-conditioned - only 1845 and Vintage have that distinction).

You are making my mouth water already - but I'll be back in the Victoria on Monday as I will be making a speech.

Richard English
03-20-2004, 04:54 AM
Quote, "...Except fine lambic. I say cart it away..."

There are some drink styles that are so unique that they cannot be properly replicated elsewhere and there are grounds for saying that the transport of such brews is wholly acceptable. Lambic beers, with their unique fermentation, are one example. Scotch whisky is another instance of a drink that has never been successfully "cloned".

However, as the home brewers who post here will aver, it is possible to brew most styles of beer. Our knowledge of the process is such that we can now replicate the composition of the water and identify the yeast strain and get very close to the original.

Whether one would want to is another matter. Local beers are very often brewed to satisfy local tastes (which may, of course, have become polorised in favour of the local brew!) and, to my mind, one of the delights in travelling is to enjoy the local beers.

studentofbeer
03-21-2004, 02:44 PM
you are making a speech? what time? i probably won't be checking internet between now and then but i would love to show up and hear you speech, on whatever it may be. well, ill try to check back in. the girlfriend and i are trying to make it to stonehenge monday but it would be nice to be back in time!

chazwicke
03-21-2004, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by Richard English
Quote
So far as the "refreshment" aspect is concerned, it is a commonly held, but inaccurate belief, that Real Ale, be it draught of bottled, is alway heavy and strong (like Fuller's 1845, for example). That's just not true. There are many light draught and bottle-conditioned beers in the UK - it's just that they are not advertised and people don't know about them.

Welton's Pride and Joy at 2.7% or Harvey's Mild at 3% are both excellent, refreshing and highly quaffable ales - to name but two from dozens.

Don't forget the Woodfordes Wherry about 3.8 but delicious.

chazwicke
03-21-2004, 06:35 PM
Originally posted by Richard English
Quote "...Richard, the exact same thought ran through my head tonight as i sat in the Victoria pub that you suggested, drinking delicious cask fullers london pride and esb ..."

Yes. He serves a good pint there and yes, London Pride is better on draught than in bottle (it's not bottle-conditioned - only 1845 and Vintage have that distinction).

You are making my mouth water already - but I'll be back in the Victoria on Monday as I will be making a speech.

I've been to the Victoria Wetherspoons several times and have always found fine cask beer there. Usually some good guest beers as well as some of the standards. I just wish it had more ambiance. But I can guarantee I will drink there again.

chazwicke
03-21-2004, 06:39 PM
Originally posted by studentofbeer
you are making a speech? what time? i probably won't be checking internet between now and then but i would love to show up and hear you speech, on whatever it may be. well, ill try to check back in. the girlfriend and i are trying to make it to stonehenge monday but it would be nice to be back in time!

I thought Stonehenge was knocked down by Chevy Chase in Lampoon's European Vacation. :D Actually I have been there a couple of times and it is pretty impressive. Smaller than you would think but still impressive. I recommend a visit to Salisbury and the cathedral there. Simply beautiful.

Richard English
03-22-2004, 02:48 AM
The public speaking club to which I belong (it's called The Simpletons) meets at 1900 that evening in the Library bar of the Victoria. That's up the stairs - turn right at the top. We are having a committee meeting before the actual speaking so don't be surprised to see us looking rather intense and business-like if you arrive early.

Guests are very welcome and don't have to speak (unless they want to). There will probably be several speeches but it's all very informal and friendly.

There's not much at Stonehenge to keep you. It's an impressive sight but once you've walked around the stones a couple of times that's really it. It's not like, say, the Tower of London or one of the London museums where you could spend hours wandering around. So you would certainly not be late back if you leave first thing in the morning.

There are two Wetherspoons at Victoria Station - neither is the Victoria that is subject to mention here. That is the Victoria (a Fuller's House) at Lancaster Gate.

stronk
03-22-2004, 11:03 AM
Don't forget the Woodfordes Wherry about 3.8 but delicious

One of my favourites. Best on tap at the Lord Nelson in Burnham Thorpe in Norfolk. Two doors down from my friend's house (and he wonder's why I'm always staying weekends)!

studentofbeer
03-22-2004, 12:28 PM
ahhh i misread as usual...well enjoy, and ill try to find another decent pint of real ale tonight

steveh
03-22-2004, 06:25 PM
Originally posted by Richard English
There's not much at Stonehenge to keep you. It's an impressive sight but once you've walked around the stones a couple of times that's really it. It's not like, say, the Tower of London or one of the London museums where you could spend hours wandering around. So you would certainly not be late back if you leave first thing in the morning.

On our visit to Salisbury (1995?), we viewed a windy Stonehenge then headed into town to see the stunning Cathedral. Then we tried some belgian beers at a pub in town (whose name escapes me), had a delicious dinner at The Haunch of Venison (the oldest pub in Salisbury), then topped off the day with a wonderful visit to the Hop Back Wyndham Arms pub.

We caught the last train back to London which, unfortunately, makes every stop along the way, but our visit to Salisbury was worth that minor inconvenience.

S.

studentofbeer
03-27-2004, 10:10 AM
another eccentricity of the british i'd like to point out is how much they smoke.

everywhere you go in every pub people are constantly smoking, and i finally decided i really find it gross. i dont mean to offend any cigarette smokers here, but it kept me out of many good pubs in my visit because my gf was sick and i found myself getting a cold from the smoke.

even with great big labels on half the packs that say "Smoking Kills" people are happy to just continue going at it to the detriment of everyone around them. people smoke a lot in Chicago, but i think even more smoke in England, or maybe the pubs just arent as well ventilated or something.

anyway, that's my rant. it was just unfortunate because i couldnt convince my gf to let me get much great beer because everywhere we went made her even more sick.

Richard English
03-27-2004, 11:10 AM
Smoking is less-common in England than it was but it still happens - especially in pubs. Although it is only a minority who smoke, their offensive habit affects many times their number.

All pubs now have to delare their "smoking policy" on the door, but usually they say simple "smoking permitted throughout". There is a move afoot to try to ban smoking in public areas and I hope it succeeds. It is already banned in public transport and most buildings - but the pubs seems to be its last stronghold.

All J D Wetherspoons pubs have a non-smoking area and are the best choice for those to whom smoking is a problem.

The repression of public smoking is one American idea that I hope we embrace quickly and fully!

Herb Ninja
03-27-2004, 06:41 PM
I don't smoke it public, and i'm happy when i'm not in a cloud of somebody elses smoke in public.

But if the best pubs have smoking in them, ill just deal with it. *cough* Peace, HN-

chazwicke
03-29-2004, 01:21 PM
Seems to me that smoking is way more pervasive in Europe than it is here. I have noticed this many times. And the young kids even seem to be doing it.

Richard English
03-29-2004, 01:30 PM
Well, that depends on what you mean by Europe - which is a big place!

In Ireland smoking in all places where people work (and that means pubs) has been completely banned as from midnight tonight!

evilredlight
04-12-2004, 08:47 AM
a smoking ban just happened here in halifax

a pub has to have a smoking room if they want to allow smoking.

I was having a chat with kevin keefe from granite brewery, and he complained that it was hurting his bussiness and others .

He says there is a core group of drinkers who happen to smoke,
the people who say they would go out more if there wasn't always so much smoke are lying.
They have already chosen their lifestyle which doesn't include smoking or going out. only social drinking, but that is not what he needs.
he wants regulars who sit and drink from 4-10 everynight.
that is where the money is
not with the social drinker who comes in at 8 and is gone by 9:30.
he says latly the drinkers have had one beer, and then go out for a smoke and don't come back.

It was an informative talk from a bussiness man who knows what he is doing. And is worried about the government ban.
I have to agree I don't think the government has any right inside our bedrooms or our bars
There is also a new trend towards unusual entertainment (mud wrestling, wet tshirt, regurgitators etc.)
It is not the sort of thing granite would get in on
but it is telling of the tough spot that pubs and bars have been put into by the smoking ban.

Richard English
04-12-2004, 09:23 AM
Smoking has now been banned on public transport in most developed countries; the smoking lobby said it would mean that people would start to use their cars - it hasn't happened.

Smoking has been banned from restuarants in many countries; the smoking lobby said that people would stop eating out - it hasn't happened.

Smoking has been banned in most working environments in many countries; the smoking lobby said it was an affront to human rights and that workers would go on strike - it hasn't happened.

Smoking will soon be banned in pubs and other places of public entertainment; the smoking lobby claim that it will destroy pubs and that people will all drink at home; that won't happen either.

As with all other such bans there have been protests and a small and temporary reduction in trade. It doesn't last and those who suggest that the banning of smoking in pubs will be different from other bans are simply closing their eyes to the facts of the matter.

Kevin Keefe is no doubt correct when he says there is a core of drinkers who smoke; there also happens to be a rather larger core of drinkers who do not - and a substantial number of drinkers of such profitable lines as mineral water and coffee are numbered among them. However, his assumption that there is a relationship between heavy drinking and heavy smoking is, at best, unproven and, I suggest, unlikely.

That minority who wish to poison themselves with tobacco and who can't do without a drag for an hour or so will just have to do it where they can't kill others with their smoke - and a good job too.

Theakston
04-12-2004, 09:25 AM
I'm a non-smoker (the only one out of my british friends sad to say), but I agree that the ban could devastate the pub trade. It will be interesting to see how the ban works out in Ireland - I suspect that it will be largely ignored.

Interesting to read that in Leeds the Student Union recently tried to ban smoking in all the campus bars, they lost about a third of their takings - so they reversed the ban.

If there is a ban most smokers will choose to drink at home (at least more so than before). Many non-smokers will not go to the pub as often either - they wont be able to meet up with their smoking mates down the pub. This will have less of an effect in London but will hurt regional brewers the most. Those that depend on a loyal, local clientele.

This will be good news for the bottled beer makers and bad news for those that produce cask ale for consumption in the pub. Unfortunately most of the bottled beer in the UK is of the mega swill lager variety.

I'm all for better ventilation - thank god my local pub back in the UK now has this so that the ceilings are no longer yellow and you can actually see the bar.

Richard English
04-12-2004, 09:43 AM
Why will it devastate the pub trade but not other businesses? Theatres, concert halls and other places of entertainment seem to have coped. What is it about drinkers that makes them, uniquely amongst pleasure-seekers in public area, able to inflict their poison on others? Why am I unable to go for a drink with my wife in many of our local pubs because the polluted atmosphere than the smokers cause means she, as an asthma sufferer, is effectively barred from any pub that has an "all-smoking" policy?

My choosing not to smoke does not affect the atmosphere that smokers breathe; their choosing to smoke pollutes the atmosphere I want to breathe. Their habit kills people; mine does not. I have the right not to be killed by them; they have the responsibility to make sure they don't kill me.

Once smoking has been banned in public places - and it will be - after a few months we'll wonder why it took so long.

MeridianFC
04-12-2004, 10:01 AM
I have to agree with Richard on this one. In the interest of full disclosure I'm former pack a day man (quit 8+ years now). I know even amongst my friends that smoke they will admit to at least a mild discomfort by being in smokey envrinoments. Contrary to what Mr. O'Keefe says (I love the Granite btw) I am and many others I know are amongst those who are significant imbibers, to put it politely, who go out less, specificially because of the smoking issue. Really now, who doesn't hate to come home reeking of Marlboro Reds?

Most of my frustration around this issue is not centered with the goverment's roll in protecting my health but with my fellow drinker's who through sure ignorance, sloth, out and out malice, and most importantly simple discourtesy, don't give a fig about those around them. I have a hard time thinking of any other invasive behavior that is so tolerated in a public environment. If I'm being loud, abusive, invading personal space, hell if I don't have shoes and shirt I'll probably be asked to leave the average tavern. If I'm slowly killing/injuring the custom with a pack of Silk Cuts I'm considered a valuable asset to the Public House?

Obviously I'm being a bit snide and it's true that smoking, unfortuantely, has a historically place in drinking culture, but this is a simple issue; smoking is dangerous even to those who don't smoke. Folks who deny this are living the weakest of lies. At the other end, smoking is simply invasive, it's a habit that can't be contained at one's person. Simple politeness should dictate that this is a behavior best left to the out of doors. The agurments that people who don't smoke don't have to frequent pubs is, to put it plainly, bullshit. People who smoke don't have to smoke in enclosed spaces.

I will acknowledge that bars and pubs will suffer at the advent of any smoking ban, but the idea that drinkers will simply go home and never come out again to commune with their fellow man at the public house is without merit. It's not the smoking that makes a good pub, it's good beer and good company.

Theakston
04-12-2004, 10:15 AM
For a very large sector of the working class smoking is a major part of the bar culture. Do people go to bars to drink--or to smoke? The indisputable fact is that a lot of bars survive on clientele who patronize them to do both. Working class neighbourhood bars that rely on this type of clientele will have to change or go out of business. And like you so rightly say, the already marginalized smoker will be displaced - replaced by people drinking coffee and mineral water. In city centres the pubs will be replaced by trendy wine bars, gastro pubs and coffee shops. Perhaps some of the change is inevitable, but whether it is or not, it does not bode well for the future of regional English brewers - such as Holts - who rely heavily on working class smokers.

While amongst the general public the smoker is in the minority now - amongst pub goers they certainly appear to be remain in the majority.

I'd say that they are most certainly the minority amongst theatre goers!

Richard English
04-12-2004, 11:06 AM
One of the problems with the smoking is that it is frequently characterised by statements that are not proven. I like to prove my arguments with facts and, when I don't have them, make it clear that my point is a belief or observation. So, infofar as this argument is concerned, I would like some facts. For example:

"...For a very large sector of the working class smoking is a major part of the bar culture..."

Is smoking more common amongst the "working class"? What is that anyway? Those who work in manufacturing or those who work in offices? Where are the statistics?

"...While amongst the general public the smoker is in the minority now - amongst pub goers they certainly appear to be remain in the majority..."

Is this because more drinkers smoke - or that non-smoking drinkers stay away? There are lots of Jews in synagogues - does that mean there are more Jews in an area - or is it maybe that Muslims don't go to Synagogues? It's easy to get a false idea of numbers if your observations are confined to a particular domain.

"...I'd say that they are most certainly the minority amongst theatre goers..."

In the theatre, certainly - since smoking is now banned in most theatres. But how do we know what they do at home? And are those who go to the theatre to listen to a pop concert the same as those who go to listen to a classical one? And are they the same as go to watch a wrestling match? Are their smoking habits the same? But in the theatre they are all non-smokers!

Smokers indulge in pubs because they are permitted so to do; once this unhealthy habit is banned, then pubs will become more pleasant for all and the loss of trade from the true addicts (now very much a minority) will be more than compensated for by the increase in trade from those who presently avoid pubs because of the threat to their health.

The one pub chain that always has a non-smoking area - J D Wetherspoon - is also the most rapidly growing in the country. Their pubs are busy and popular with all classes and it is the only local I can visit with my wife, for reasons already stated.

Sadly few pub owners have the acumen of Tim Martin and realise the sense of providing accommodation for both smokers and non-smokers - most of them prefer to whinge about the government trying to interfere with their business. Sadly the might of the Law will need to be imposed simply to ensure that the rights of the majority to enjoy fresh air are made available in all public places. The pub trade won't do it unless forced, that's for sure.

Theakston
04-12-2004, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by Richard English
One of the problems with the smoking is that it is frequently characterised by statements that are not proven. I like to prove my arguments with facts and, when I don't have them, make it clear that my point is a belief or observation. So, infofar as this argument is concerned, I would like some facts. For example:
Smokers indulge in pubs because they are permitted so to do; once this unhealthy habit is banned, then pubs will become more pleasant for all and the loss of trade from the true addicts (now very much a minority) will be more than compensated for by the increase in trade from those who presently avoid pubs because of the threat to their health.

I'd like to know what are the facts on which you are basing this assertion then....
where is the evidence that there are hordes of soon to be liberated non-smokers who would flock to these establishments? In New York, this certainly was not the case and - as in the case of Leeds that I cited earlier - it is provably false.
Even the head of Wetherspoons - Tim Martin - concedes that to ban smoking in his chain of pubs (without a law) would be commercial suicide. He supports the ban because his is the type of chain pub that would prosper at the expense of the more traditional locally run establishment.

Theakston
04-12-2004, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by Richard English
Sadly few pub owners have the acumen of Tim Martin and realise the sense of providing accommodation for both smokers and non-smokers - most of them prefer to whinge about the government trying to interfere with their business. Sadly the might of the Law will need to be imposed simply to ensure that the rights of the majority to enjoy fresh air are made available in all public places. The pub trade won't do it unless forced, that's for sure.

I agree wholeheartedly with the concept of "providing accommodation for both smokers and non-smokers"
This goes contrary to a law that would outlaw such accomodation for smokers.

That is my point. I don't know how we got immediately from accomodating non-smokers to accomodating no others.

studentofbeer
04-12-2004, 11:56 AM
i think both theakston and richard have good points, but i definitely fall on richard's side of the argument.

the thing is, we lament the demise of pubs and "pub culture," but pubs haven't changed with the times. I certainly do understand the argument that local pubs will be hurt--when i went in the wenlock arms i felt like i was walking in to a whole other world where everyone knew each other and everyone smoked. but would these people stop going to the pub if they were banned from smoking in it? I dont know, maybe. But if a local pub really has the sense of a local pub i would think it would be able to retain its local clientele even with a smoking ban because its where people are used to gathering.

Im no expert on English pubs, but it seems the time may be ripe to transform the business model of the business, at least partially, rather than be dragged kicking and screaming into new regulations even as more and more go out of business.

it's hard to empirically say that non-smokers who hate smoke would move in to replace any drop off in business from the loss of smokers, but i think coupling a smoking ban with a change in focus toward either a more family-friendly atmosphere or a "focus on the beer" atmosphere.

i think one of the reasons beer doesn't get the respect it deserves is that people either think of it as being consumed by white trash people tailgating before sporting events or what's consumed by drunks in bars/taverns whose life only involves smoking and drinking.

as a "beer geek" it's easy for me to say that it's economically feasible for there to be places that cater to crowds of all classes where good beer and maybe some good food is served, where you can talk and hang out and have the bar atmosphere, all without the smoke. Actually in LA I enjoy going to Father's Office, which is smoke free by law, has a huge selection of California micros on tap and is a nice (perhaps even too trendy) atmosphere.

that's my ramble. but as society's taste for cigarettes change there ought to be a market opening up for beer purveyors to tap into an audience other than the young and/or the smoking.

Richard English
04-12-2004, 01:52 PM
I didn't wish to confuse and maybe my apparent switch in stance did that.

My original view (and a view that I have posted) was that pubs should offer accommodation for both smokers and non-smokers. I thought that this would enable them to increase both their owb takings and the comfort of their customers. I had great hopes of the initiative of a year of so ago which asked that pubs declare their policy on smoking - non-smoking, separate smoking areas or all-smoking - would avoid legislation. Sadly, apart from J D Wetherspoon, the only result has been an outbreak of signs that say "smoking permitted throughout". A waste of time, in other words.

Non-smoking areas tend not to work in my own experience and I fear that the only way to stop smoking in an area is to ban it. Completely.

Once it has happened in all public places, after a few months everything will settle down and we'll wonder what the fuss was.

And as for my "...evidence that there are hordes of soon to be liberated non-smokers who would flock to these establishments..." this is simply a deduction from fact. There are far fewer smokers than non-smokers and it is my judgement that there will be fewer smokers abandoning pubs than there will be hitherto "outlawed" non-smokers taking them up. I am sure that the initial phase will be of a reduction in business as the smokers will initially stay away to "drink elsewhere". After a few weeks they will realise that there is no substitute for a pub and begin to drift back. At the same time, those who had hitherto eschewed pubs because of their smoky atmosphere will start to try them out. In a few months the pubs will be busier than ever - and far more comfortable places in which to drink.

Kalleh1
04-15-2004, 07:36 PM
Is smoking more common amongst the "working class"?

As a nursing professor who has taught pulmonary nursing and cancer nursing for a number of years, I can assure you that the answer to the above question, at least in the U.S., is NO.

stronk
04-16-2004, 04:59 AM
Or perhaps, based on your evidence, the answer is 'yes', but working-class smokers smoke less (possibly due to the huge expense) or have a diet causing them to be less susceptible to cancer ;)

stronk
04-16-2004, 05:03 AM
when i went in the wenlock arms
So, how was it? I plan on making the trip (rather shorter for me than for you) on Tuesday afternoon.

Richard English
04-16-2004, 05:16 AM
I've never been there (it's the other side on London from me) but I might give it a try. I see it has a website here http://www.wenlock-arms.co.uk/ and the picture shows that there are at least eight beer engines (although, sadly, one of them seems to be serving Tetley :( )

Maybe I'll hop in the tube the next time I'm in town (Tuseday, as it happens - but I'm in Victoria) and give it a whirl

Herb Ninja
04-16-2004, 05:23 AM
The Wenlock Arms is great, my favorite pub in London and it has some nice, interesting people. Sometimes it can get awful smokey, noisey, and crowded, but it wouldn't draw me away. Also check out Pitfield Brewery/Beer Shop while your in the area. :) Peace, HN-

Theakston
04-16-2004, 07:57 AM
Originally posted by Kalleh1
Is smoking more common amongst the "working class"?

As a nursing professor who has taught pulmonary nursing and cancer nursing for a number of years, I can assure you that the answer to the above question, at least in the U.S., is NO.
Well I would be interested to see the statistics, as it is definitely a YES in the UK:
"A negative association between smoking and various measures of socio-economic status has been well documented in previous research. The chart shows a marked tendency for children's and young adults' cigarette smoking prevalence to increase as equivalised household income decreases. "
This is from the department of health's own study. There have been many others. All point to the same fact: that the working class smoke far more than other socio economic groups - despite the fact that cigarettes are REALLY REALLY EXPENSIVE in the UK.



Here's a link to the study (http://www.official-documents.co.uk/document/deps/doh/survey02/summ03.htm)

Richard English
04-16-2004, 08:25 AM
It's interesting, too, that there is a marked difference with age. This study is concerned only with children and young adults and I see that for girls (who smoke more than men nowadays) the class difference for children (up to 15) is greater than it is for young adults (up to 24).

7% of girls from the lowest socio-economic group smoke as compared with just 2% from the highest. However, in the 16-24 age group the gap is less - although the numbers smoking has increased greatly. In the lowest socio-economic group, 49% of girls smoked but the percentage in the highest group had risen to 28%. It would be interesting to see whether this trend towards equality continues as age increases.

Some of the other charateristics are interesting too. The lower socio-economic groups eat fewer fruit and vegetables than do the higher. From which one could infer that they eat more (expensive) junk food - and this seems to be reflected in the finding that the upward trend in obesity prevalence over the last seven years was more marked in manual social classes than in non-manual social classes - although the actual figures are not published.

Kalleh1
04-16-2004, 10:21 PM
Theakston, fair enough. I will see what I can find. However, when I taught about lung diseases, I definitely had statistics showing that the smoking rate was similar across the classes. It surprised me, too.

I am interested to know how much a package of cigarettes is in the UK. Here it is about $6 (about 3 pounds) per package (20 cigarettes). Now, a package can be had cheaper in other areas of the U.S. Chicago has a high tax on it.

I know this is a beer board, and not a health board, but it always amazes me as to how many conditions are associated with smoking, besides lung cancer & heart disease; others are head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, bladder cancer & emphysema.

stronk
04-17-2004, 09:15 AM
http://www.wenlock-arms.co.uk/2.html#thebeers

There is a list of their beers here. I take it they don't have them all on at the same time, but I think that 8 engines is probably the minimum number they have there.

Am I right, Herb Ninja?

Richard English
04-17-2004, 10:00 AM
Now I look on the map I see I was within a couple of hundred yards of it only a short while ago! Then I had a pint in a rather poor boozer on the corner of Graham Street and City Road. Had I but known...!

Herb Ninja
04-17-2004, 07:53 PM
Originally posted by stronk
http://www.wenlock-arms.co.uk/2.html#thebeers

There is a list of their beers here. I take it they don't have them all on at the same time, but I think that 8 engines is probably the minimum number they have there.

Am I right, Herb Ninja?

Yes your correct. Your in London and youve never been to The Wenlock Arms?
Id be on the tube right now if I were you. ;) Peace, HN-

Richard English
04-18-2004, 03:31 AM
In fact, I live in Surrey, south of London and about 30 minutes on the train to Victoria (the tubes don't go all that far south). The Wenlock arms would be easy enough for me to get to and I'll give it a go the next time I have an hour or so to spare.

But remember, there are so many excellent pubs in London that there's very rarely any need to do more than walk around the corner to find a good one. I suppose you could say that we're spoilt for choice - but that's a better option than to have too little choice.

noby
04-19-2004, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by Theakston
It will be interesting to see how the ban works out in Ireland - I suspect that it will be largely ignored.



On the contrary. In the build-up to the implementation of the ban, there has been much debate here (alot of which have been raised on this thread)
The result so far, in my local, and generally speaking is, the ban has been accepted.
I have seen no evidence of a rush of non-smokers returning to the pub, but a night in the pub can be more pleasant now.
I also have seen no evidence of smokers choosing to stay away from the pub.
(Obviously, I have no statistics to back this up)

Granted, we have been blessed with ok weather, to coincide with the ban, but people just step outside for their fag now.( A rainy november night might be different)

In speaking to my friends, alot of them either quit smoking in anticipation of the ban, or are now using the ban as an incentive to quit. Others are smoking a lot less on a night out, as leaving the comfort of the bar, and your pint, is just too much hassle.

Richard English
04-19-2004, 09:53 AM
Quote "...I have seen no evidence of a rush of non-smokers returning to the pub, but a night in the pub can be more pleasant now..."

I suspect it will take a while for non-smokers to realise that things have changed. They know in their minds, of course, but it's not yet in their hearts. Habits need to be established and there will many who have never used pubs because of the smoke and who need to acquire the habit.

Anyway, it's good news that the ban seems to being working; let's hope that the publicans over here take heart and welcome the ban when it arrives (as it surely will) .

MeridianFC
04-20-2004, 10:43 AM
As an aside I was in Manhattan this past weekend and didn't even realize till I was in the first pub that the smoking ban was in effect. It was glorious. Everyone of my group, including the smoker, noted how much more pleasant it was. The next day one could wear their same jacket again and not reek of Marlboro Lights. The bars were packed too. Like the fellow above the nice weather I think helped things a big.

There seemed to be a lot of places that added "gardens" or "patios" to their premisis specfically to offer the smokers a place to go.

fretlessman71
04-20-2004, 11:26 AM
One of the reasons that my wife and I decided to move back to Colorado is that so many towns (like Ft. C) have enacted a smoking ban. Ours even states that you can't smoke outside within 15 feet of the entrance! Now THAT'S pretty cool, ain't it? :)

Beaver
04-20-2004, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by fretlessman71
One of the reasons that my wife and I decided to move back to Colorado is that so many towns (like Ft. C) have enacted a smoking ban. Ours even states that you can't smoke outside within 15 feet of the entrance! Now THAT'S pretty cool, ain't it? :)

Yep. I just went to Coopersmith's yesterday, and played pool in a smog free environment. It was very nice!

fretlessman71
04-20-2004, 11:47 AM
Yeah... so now, when I come home from work, I only smell like garlic biscuits and fish.... not garlic biscuits, fish, and smoke.... :rolleyes:

Beaver
04-20-2004, 11:59 AM
Originally posted by fretlessman71
Yeah... so now, when I come home from work, I only smell like garlic biscuits and fish.... not garlic biscuits, fish, and smoke.... :rolleyes:

So where are you working at?

fretlessman71
04-20-2004, 12:04 PM
We're just south of Wilbur's and Wild Oats, in the same plaza as Young's Vietnamese food. Any guesses? (Don't say it here, ok? I'm sure you can guess... :D)

chazwicke
04-20-2004, 01:01 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by MeridianFC
[B]As an aside I was in Manhattan this past weekend


And what fine establishments did you make it to? How were the beers?

MeridianFC
04-20-2004, 01:37 PM
Blind Tiger
dba
Some crap bar at the Port Authority bus station
Some random Irish bar near my hotel
several other places that I can't recall owing to the thoroughly ladish nature of the visit.

Beaver
04-20-2004, 01:40 PM
Originally posted by fretlessman71
We're just south of Wilbur's and Wild Oats, in the same plaza as Young's Vietnamese food. Any guesses? (Don't say it here, ok? I'm sure you can guess... D)

I can guess (I think you kinda gave it away in the other thread though!).

Walking distance to Wilbur's is a nice fringe benefit. :)