The views on this blog are "entirely my own and not representative of anybody I work for"…………..

Posted on January 27, 2010


I’m certainly not the first person to be upset by Roger Protz (if these comments on his recent Brewdog post are anything to go by) but his article for The Morning Advertiser has really wound me up.
Now if this was a corporate blog I’d probably say nothing as the “global giant” that bank rolls my mortgage comes out ok on balance but fortunately the views on this blog are “entirely my own and not representative of anybody I work for” so I feel more than comfortable saying the guy can be a dinosaur, the constant knocking of lager by the real ale brigade does more harm for the beer industry than good and it makes me really cross.
The particular quote that has me incensed is this………

The global giants that dominate British brewing ought to get the message that consumers increasingly want to drink beer with taste, rich in malt and hop character, rather than bland industrial lager.

In typical Roger style there is no source to substantiate this claim and I would love to know how he can prove it. Indeed cask ale is in growth, as evidenced in this year’s Cask Ale Report which is great news. But do we really believe that legions of lager drinkers have seen the error of their ways, slammed down their pint glasses and demanded a pint of Badger’s Armpit – somehow I don’t think so. I think cask ale has woken up to changing consumer habits and worked hard to recruit new customers into the beer category, as evidenced by the growing number of women trying cask ale.
But despite this growth in cask ale the harsh fact remains that total trade beer volume in the UK has been in general decline since the 1980’s and the short term trend has accelerated over the last 2 years with the ontrade beer category forecast to be down a further 2.8m barrels (15.6%) by 2012 (if you’re wondering I can provide a source for this!!). Unless we collectively work as industry to get more people into the beer category and out of wine, spirits and cider that are all stealing our share of drinkers, the future for the beer market is not bright, so taking pot shots at different styles of beer needs to be a thing of the past.
I don’t like cricket, does that make it a rubbish sport played by heathens? Am I a more refined and intelligent sports fan because I prefer tennis? I don’t think so on either count so it’s time to stop knocking mass lager brands, you might not like them but they wouldn’t sell in the volume they did if they were all tripe – and lager drinkers wouldn’t keep drinking it time after time if it tasted so bad. There are undoubtedlyy some bad lagers out there, Castlemaine XXXX was one of them which is why people didn’t buy it and it had to exit the UK, but being big doesn’t equal bad, it means you’re accessible, reliable and lots of people like you – maybe if more of the real ale brigade woke up to this and worked together to promote beer generally the beer category could have a brighter future.