Thursday 31 July 2008

Free GBBF Guided Walks for Women

There are still places left on my guided tours around the Great British Beer Festival in the evenings next week - visit here to sign up!

Monday 28 July 2008

There's Always One

Well done Luminar Leisure; you've just opened the door for the pub & nightclub trade to be fully regulated by the Government - bravo!

Offering drinks for 80p each is not only the height of irresponsibility it is just the most short-sighted, idiotic move I've seen since Gerald Ratner's statement about his products being 'crap'.

I can only imagine the chimps tea party masquerading as a meeting that managed to come up with this strategy; it's beyond ridiculous and I can't see how it stacks up financially.

I presume the staff are going to be extremely careful to not serve anyone who's inebriated? Because I estimate that you can't realistically drink any more than five drinks of an evening without becoming drunk so, if the entry fee is also 80p, £4.80 is what they SHOULD be earning off each person.

If you work this back it means that they have to, if you take off the VAT, buy in each unit at about 68p - and whilst I can see that happening with some very low-quality spirits I can't see it working with every product and just not by enough to make it in the least bit profitable.

And whilst I understand that bodies in clubs is what it takes; as Steve Thomas from Luminar points out: "No one likes an empty nightclub"; but perhaps it would be better to question why your club is half-empty than entice people in with ridiculously cheap offers.

Because all this boils down to is that Luminar, and any of you out there running pubs & clubs and think discounting is the way forward, are not thinking about the long-term future of the whole sector.

Quite simply if you don't stop this kind of discounting then you are going to cause the on trade to become so legislatively evolved that knuckle-dragger mentalities like this will be left far behind.

Monday 14 July 2008

Surprise Capitulation by A-B

Well, well, well. Who would have thought after all the legal posturing over the last couple of weeks that Anheuser-Busch would accept InBev's bid?

It did seem that A-B was adopting the classic 'attack is the best form of defence' strategy when they filed the famous 'liar, liar pants on fire' law suit in Missouri.

Basically, last week (amongst other allegations) A-B said InBev had hatched an 'illegal plan and scheme' to 'acquire control of Anheuser-Busch at a bargain price' - something all big American companies would always think twice about of course!

And also that the Belgian company had 'launched a campaign of acquisition rumors' - which I, for one, don't believe ever happens during take-overs at all! And insider trading is just a conspiracy theory too!!!

Anyway, the most interesting thing that they claimed was that InBev's financing was, shall we say, a little bit on the shaky side - which begs the question of how it was dodgy last week and now suddenly all fine this week?

Regardless of all the above my major fear, which has just been realised, is that there is going to be a big beer behemoth owning a very large percentage of the American beer market and - even more terrifyingly - big corporate brewers will own 80% of the beer volume.

This will undoubtedly not only have an enormous impact on the US market but is guaranteed to have an impact on our shores soon too.

I do hope that the Parliamentary PubCo inquiry takes a long-term view on this as a potential future issue for tied pubs.

Why? Well, if any of the big companies decide to get into bed with Anheuser-Busch InBev then choice will be so drastically reduced for so many licensees - not to mention consumers - that it could set back the progress of local, regional and speciality beers in a big (and in some cases possibly fatal) way.

Worrying, it really is...

p.s. I really hope they didn't pay a flashy branding company to come up with that name, which is inevitably going to be shortened to ABIB - best joke around that wins a prize! Don't know what yet but it will inevitably involve beer!