Vive la dif­férence! Of­fer the choice but some will stick to their own...

Southport Visiter - - Camra Column -

ASURVEY by the There’s A Beer For That cam­paign has shown that 45% of con­sumers pre­fer lager to any other drink, and that 60% had only ever tried up to five dif­fer­ent styles of beer de­spite the mas­sive range that is cur­rently avail­able, writes Neville Grundy.

Some com­men­ta­tors have ex­pressed frus­tra­tion that so many Bri­tish drinkers are re­luc­tant to ex­per­i­ment, but this shows that they don’t re­ally un­der­stand peo­ple’s drink­ing habits.

For many peo­ple their drink is merely an ad­junct to their so­cial life; it is not the pur­pose of it.

They don’t want to ex­per­i­ment, and would rather find a pint that suits them and get on with what­ever they are do­ing, such as meet­ing friends, pub quizzes, watch­ing foot­ball matches or live mu­sic in pubs, or spe­cial oc­ca­sions such as wed­dings.

Another rea­son why peo­ple don’t ex­per­i­ment is be­cause there are still some drinkers, pos­si­bly a di­min­ish­ing num­ber, who feel loy­alty to a par­tic­u­lar brand of beer.

For ex­am­ple, a friend of mine re­gards Fuller’s Lon­don Pride as the best beer on the planet, and if that’s on the bar he won’t touch any other beer.

Peo­ple are en­ti­tled to have favourites.

Even drinkers of real ale (or of craft beer for that mat­ter) do not want to spend ev­ery sec­ond of their drink­ing life con­stantly ex­per­i­ment­ing.

If you’re out for a night with friends and find a pint you like, you may stick with that while you en­joy your­self, rather than con­stantly search­ing for some­thing dif­fer­ent. In­deed, many real ale drinkers like to see some­thing fa­mil­iar on the bar, and can find an ever-chang­ing ar­ray of beers that they’re un­fa­mil­iar with off-putting.

There’s no need for im­pa­tience with peo­ple stick­ing with what they know, con­sid­er­ing that un­til the early 1990s, the choice of beer in most towns was se­verely limited to the prod­ucts of the few brew­eries who owned nearly all the pubs.

We’ve come a long way since then, but there will al­ways be drinkers who will have a favourite brand, or small range of brands.

There can be a lot of plea­sure in try­ing dif­fer­ent beers, but it’s not com­pul­sory to do so.

The best ap­proach is to say vive la dif­férence – as­sum­ing we’re still al­lowed to af­ter the EU ref­er­en­dum vote.

South­port and West Lancs Camra web­site: www.south­port.camra.org.uk.

For pre­vi­ous Camra ar­ti­cles, go to: tinyurl.com/vis­pubs.

There is such a choice com­pared with the early 1990s that there can be a lot of plea­sure in sam­pling dif­fer­ent beers – but it’s not com­pul­sory

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