Thursday, 28 May 2015

The price of lager

I went to a Wetherspoon's in Manchester with one of my mates yesterday.

I had a pint of a 5% cask-conditioned stout brewed by a North West microbrewery. It was priced at £2.30 and cost me £1.80 with a CAMRA voucher; he had a pint of a 5% pale lager brewed by a global brewer at the Royal Brewery in Moss Side, a couple of miles from the pub, which cost £4.10.

The question struck me again: why, even in generally cheap pubs like Wetherspoon's, is lager so expensive compared to other beers?

I can think of a few explanations:

1. it costs a lot more to brew it.

2. it costs a lot more to advertise it.

3. the low-volume microbrewery is so keen for their beers to appear in a chain of pubs that they're willing to sell it at just over cost, and knowing this Wetherspoon's are able to push them down to this price in a way they can't with a global brewer.

4. drinkers see 5% lagers as a premium product and are prepared to pay more for them.

I'd guess it's a bit of all those things, although on the first one, surely if you're a global brewer being able to buy all your raw materials in massive amounts off-sets the cost of running big breweries filled with lots of shiny new kit?

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Mild in May

As April showers refuse to turn into May flowers in Manchester, CAMRA has launched its annual Mild Month.

There's been a bit of a debate on beer blogs recently as to how May became the month in which CAMRA promotes mild. I've no idea how it started to be honest, and neither does anyone else it seems, but I'd guess that alliteration is at least part of the answer.