….a comment we have heard on a few occasions since we made the decision to install a Lindr keg dispenser at The Wight Bear and The Saxon Bear. In this post we hope to explain and discuss our thoughts behind why we made this decision and why the price of the beer is so different to the average price of a pint from a cask.
We love beer. It’s the driving force behind why we opened a Micropub. We love good beer. We love the simplicity of the gravity poured pint from a cask at the correct cellar temperature. We also love bottled beer; canned beer; keg beer. The delivery method (in our opinion) should not detract from the quality or enjoyment of the contents. It is (in our opinion) plain stupid to deny yourself the opportunity to savour some of the best world class beers available to buy because of price (or the delivery method). We also understand that it’s not for everyone and some beer drinkers just like a good pint of the usual, but should that prevent us/you from trying something different?
Yes we have deviated from the “core values” of the Micropub ethos by having keg beer but we have always sold spirits (so should we be de-listed?) or is the real core value of the Micropub, that it is part of its community? Yes we have moved away from the “core values” of CAMRA – for the reasons mentioned above – because the beer (and our love for it) is more important than someone else’s outdated guidelines (as celebrated as they should be for their past achievements). As a business we have to evolve/adapt/develop within the fast changing landscape that is the UK’s beer market, so two years on we can now bring you beers never before possible because the fact is some beers and breweries are not distributed in cask and some beer styles just suit keg rather than cask. We want you (and us of course) to be able to try some of these beers so we made the decision to install a keg dispenser that is a compressor as well as a chiller. Our beer offering is now a permanent 6 (12 at both Bears) ie; 2 x keg and 4 x cask beers available EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK and not 3/4 x cask during the weekday and 5/6 x cask at the weekend. More beer every day!
And so to price. We operate a standard mark-up with our beer pricing. If it costs us £X, we sell it for £Y and that is the same for all of the beer we bring into our cellars. Some beers cost more to make and therefore buy, which is relevant to all products. Blossom Hill is not the same price as Chablis. A Hyundai is not the same price as a BMW. A pint of New Forest Ale is not the same price as Verdant/Deya/Northern Monk’s Hazemaker. We do not think that the beer market has been honestly represented until recently because of the unfair suppression of the price of cask beer by the volume producers and then there’s the complete imbalance of taxes and duty paid by everyone in the supply chain and of course ultimately the poor person in the pub trying to enjoy the “everyman’s drink”.
We therefore offer smaller glass sizes to (hopefully) lessen the impact of that price difference so you can at least try the beer if you feel it is too expensive to immerse yourself in a full pint because drinking beer in pints is not a challenge or a competition. So it’s not the brewers (or indeed us) that beer drinkers should be upset with when it comes to price.
We are not trying to make The Bears some sort of exclusive Craft Beer pubs, nothing could be further from the truth. We are offering you, the beer drinker, a broader spectrum of the incredible beers that are being dreamt up and brewed by some of this country’s greatest beer talent. It’s a case of support them or they will disappear and we could end up back in the 70’s with four or five big breweries controlling what you drink. Not a great thought when you consider that they’ve already realised there is a general rejection of mediocre, over marketed, mass-produced beer and some of the big corporates have started buying up craft producers to infiltrate and potentially control the market. Their money buys volume. Your money buys independence.
At the moment you have a choice.
Let’s drink beer. Let’s drink good beer.