Hot on the heels of the rash of scare stories put about by the health fascists and their fellow-travellers in the Government who are never slow to recognise a tax-raising opportunity, comes some interesting information carried in today’s Daily Mail and latterly, on the evening news.
According to the British Beer and Pub Association, (hardly independent, I know, but bear with me) the consumption of beer in pubs is at its lowest level since the 1930s, and is down by virtually 50% since 1979.
Even factoring in the sales of that cheap, canned dross they punt out in supermarkets and off-licences and the like, the sale of beer is still down by 22% over the same period.
I don’t know about you, but I have always thought that drinking is best enjoyed in the company of others in a pub, not sitting at home, hunched over a collection of empty cans or bottles. I know many people will disagree with me, but - as you will have gathered - I regard the latter as potentially far more ‘damaging’ than the former, as the drinking could, conceivably, take the place of the social aspect and become an end in itself.
As such, we should be very worried about the demise of pub-based beer drinking; all the more so in light of the numbers of pubs which are closing their doors forever, or being sold off for alternative uses in both urban and -possibly more worrying, given the lack of alternatives - rural settings.
Do we really want to end up living in a country where a night out at the local becomes a distant memory, losing yet another aspect of our culture in the process?
As far as I can see it, the answer is to freeze the duty on beer sold in pubs - not on alcopops, not on wine, not on spirits and not on ‘beer’ sold in supermarkets (twenty-odd pence a can for Tesco’s ‘value’ bitter, for God’s sake!), in order to encourage people to have their evening ‘slackener’ in the pub with friends.
And to answer your question, I am a lager, or sometimes, a cider man and I make absolutely no apologies for it.