Friday 5 May 2023

UK beer in 1978 (part two)

Back with the Sunday Mirror in the late 1970s. Such a happy time.

Starting off with a look at prices. These inflation figures were a surprise to me. It's not at all how it felt to me at the time.

Are we getting value for our money?

On balance, we think the answer is Yes.

Although many people grumble about the price of beer, the fact is that beer prices have gone up only 27 per cent, in the past two years — compared with 47.1 per cent. for milk, 47.9 per cent. for bread and 27.5 per cent. for meat and bacon.

Brewers’ Society statistics reveal that when we did our last national beer survey in 1976, draught beers cost 23p a pint in a managed house public bar. Today, the same pint costs an average of 30 to 31p.

However, our survey shows that in many pubs, a pint of beer costs a lot more.

It’s not unusual to pay 38p to 40p for a good pint in the South of England.

Why so much?
Roger Protz, an official of the Campaign for Real Ale. said: “It has become trendy to drink real ale, and there’s nothing to stop free houses charging what they like for it.”

In London we paid 40p a pint for Everard’s Tiger beer, from Burton-upon-Trent. In the Midlands, it can be bought for 30p a pint.

There’s no doubt that the “real ale” trend is catching on.

For those who don’t know, real ale is the beer in which the ingredients go on fermenting in the barrel, cask or bottle.

Keg beer or brewery-conditioned beer is filtered and pasteurised before it leaves the brewery so it tastes the same wherever you buy it.
Sunday Mirror - Sunday 17 September 1978, page 22. 

I'm amazed that beer inflation was less than that for many foods. That's not how it felt. Though, admittedly, I was spending a lot more money on beer than on food. What with being a student at the time.

That official from CAMRA, Roger Protz, I wonder what ever happened to him? It must be strange for youngsters to read about cask beer being trendy and some pubs taking the piss by charging an arm and a leg for it. Much the same way some exploit craft beer at the moment.

Real Ale catching on? It'll never last. I predict keg taking over the hearts and minds of the young in the 2000's.

Some very wise words next.

A matter of taste, of course, but this is a useful lesson for beer connoisseurs. A beer can be very good but it is only as good as it is kept by the publican.

We don’t claim that the results of our nationwide pub crawl will give you all the answers. We tasted a lot of good beers, but there are many we didn’t sample.

Just use our survey as a guide. And if you are someone who drinks the same ale all the time, why not try some of the others?

Look out for 'real ale,’ too. It’s not too difficult to find because 28,000 of Britain’s 66,000 pubs now sell it. One in seven of the pints pulled over the bar is now 'real ale.’
Sunday Mirror - Sunday 17 September 1978, page 22. 

As someone who wholeheartedly did/does drink the same Ale all the time, I'm definitely not up for trying others. Maybe I could give this "real ale" a go. It seems like that's what all the youngsters are going for.

What percentage of pubs currently sell cask beer? I've absolutely no idea. But the percentage pf toal sales it occupies is greatly reduced. from 17% in 1980 to just 8/1% in 2016.*

* BBPA Statistical Handbook 2017, page 13.


Christian said...

First time I read about coronation ales on your blog. Worth to mention the coronation ales 2023?

Anonymous said...

That is why maximum price of a pint (but allow to turn over a healthy profit) and a pint being 568ml of liquid with an area above the top of the liquid line to hold the head.

Anonymous said...

'Only 27%' in two years. With an average London pint at around 5.50 (interweb), a 27% rise now would take it to 7 quid in two years time. Although that's probably a normal current price for some craft beers, as you say Ron.