Tuesday 8 March 2011

Blame Diageo

Following on from the SIBA video beer writer Pete Brown has exhorted beer drinkers of all varieties to unite and celebrate beer in all its forms. "Old CAMRA" and "extremophiles", and just about anyone who ever says anything negative, are described as being damaging for beer at a time when a war on drink is taking place.

He goes further to say: "If you’re a minister wondering whether the industry deserves a break, you see a fragmented and ineffective lobbying body. By focusing on internal battles, we’re allowing wine and spirits on one side and teetotallers on the other to reposition beer as something not worth bothering with."

Now I'm all for drinkers solidarity but I really don't think a few beer nerds mouthing off on the internet is of interest to anyone except other beer nerds. And it's definitely not why the industry has a fragmented and ineffective lobbying body. For that I blame Diageo.

The Guinness and spirits multinational is in favour of seeing beer taxes rise and spirits duty frozen. The gossip I've heard is that to further this aim it's blocked the BBPA from campaigning against beer duty rises. So we're in a situation where the small brewers' organisation SIBA brings out a low budget video promoting beer made by large and small companies and calling for lower taxes, while the organisation that represents the companies making 98% of the beer brewed in Britain does very little.

Still on the plus side a least this means the budget for the video didn't stretch far enough to get a fly by of Spitfires.


  1. CAMRA gets a bad rap on the beer blogs, but heh at least no one reads them. But what you point out is one more area of fragmentation. Of one part of the drinks industry seeking competitive advantage through regulation and taxes in a beggar thy neighbour strategy. Its all well and good pointing out that most CAMRA members are enlightened beer enthusiasts and not fighting a jihad against the none real ale infidels but its main national campaign objective is increasing the price of a can of lager. The pub industry is committing commercial suicide hawking the line that alcohol is so dangerous people ought not to consume it unsupervised and require a controlled and responsible environment and the main consumer group of drinkers echo’s that line. Many professional paid published beer writers who you would expect to be wider read and influential cannot eulogise about the beer they are drinking without slagging off the most popular beers in the country. Yet whilst drinking is denormalised and beer sales decline beer drinkers have never had it so good because it’s easier than ever to find shed brewed pong or an authentic foreign import. As for the video, as nice as it is it will not appear on TV or in cinemas. It will be watched on YouTube and help beer geeks feel better about themselves. We’re all doooomed. Doooomed I tell you!

  2. Don't PANIC!!! Cookie.

    Dad's Army, Spitfire comments, maybe SIBA should have actually gone the whole hog gone for a good old British parody "who do you think you are kidding Mr Cameron if you think were done... we are the Brewers who will stop your little game..."... Perhaps not.