The Media and Beer
I’ve been a bit miffed this month. In fact at times I’ve felt ostracised, marginalised, outcast. I’ve been made to feel ill-educated, stupid and a social pariah. Do you want to know why? Because every day when I’ve picked up a national newspaper, there has been an article or editorial slamming alcohol, and in particular, those of us who drink it.
I feel like I am making some sort of guilty confession when I say “I drink”. I have a drink to socialise with friends, or to celebrate finishing a long day at work, or simply to enjoy discovering a new pub or beer.
I don’t drink myself unconscious. I don’t fall over in the gutter after drinking. I don’t harm anybody after I’ve had a drink. But if you were to believe the press, I’m responsible for all that is wrong in society, I’m a jobless, worthless down and out, sponging off the nation, putting pressure on the NHS, and breaking up happy families up and down the UK.
I’m miffed because this isn’t me! I work hard, I enjoy my beer responsibly (how I now hate that phrase “enjoy responsibly” which is tagged onto every form of alcohol advertisement I see. It’s SO patronising) and I contribute to the local and national economy.
What’s this got to do with us beer drinkers, you might be thinking? Has Annabel gone all political on us?
Not at all. Us beer drinkers never were the problem. To drink real cask conditioned ale, we have to go to the pub. Supermarkets have never been able to replicate the drink we so enjoy in a local pub. Pubs are one of the safest environments to drink in. I was a licensee for many years, and to retain that licence I had to run an orderly house, not serve drunks, check customer ID – numerous rules and regulations which are designed to promote a safe drinking environment and monitor consumption of alcohol.
I’m miffed because a very very small minority of people – and companies - have created this situation and the majority of us have to pay the price. Quite literally. We pay more tax on our pint of beer than anywhere else in Europe. Brewers are being forced to reduce their range, or even produce very weak low strength beers (which, let’s face it, wasn’t driven by consumer demand). How did it come to this?
We are made to feel that it’s a ‘dirty little secret’ that we enjoy a drink, if we are to believe the recent press.
So now I’ve got that rant off my chest will you join me in raising your glass of beer, and be loud and proud of your love of British beer!