In this issue we cover the flurry of
and local pub changes, in particular the
big Cambridge St Andrew's Street changes.
There's also the list of winners in this year's Champion Beer of Britain 1998 competition
and the results of the East Anglian beer star rating survey
and of several consumer surveys.
Please make a note in your diary for the
Cambridge Winter Ale Festival 1999.
If you can spare some time to help out, you'll be most welcome and
as usual staff get cheap beer and food.
The Government is moving forward on some fronts...
There's no sign of any real action to end the ludicrous
cross-border booze trade by obeying the Treaty of Rome and bringing our duty
levels down to the EU average, thus cutting imports and boosting UK sales (with
a net gain in tax revenue, according to Treasury forecasts).
Kent brewer Shepherd Neame is still challenging the Government in the courts over this.
The Society of Independent Brewers
is campaigning for a continental-style sliding scale of duty to
help small brewers compete and thus maintain consumer choice.
[Campaign Web site;
article in ALE 289.]
They seem minded to accept a voluntary scheme within the
leisure industry to cut smoke, rather than impose no-smoking areas.
There's supposed to be a White Paper by the end of the year.
They seem to be ready to try relaxing pub hours, at least in town centres,
perhaps allowing opening to midnight in appropriate circumstances.
As for insisting on full pints, it's been all talk so far.
They've let a lone MP, Eric "Froth" Forth, block legislation to end the scandal of short measure.
CAMRA's 1997 survey of Trading Standards departments showed that 8 out of 10
pubs serve short measure.
In spite of what some in the industry say, there would be no extra costs for pubs since
the law, if introduced, would allow several years for them to bring in lined
("over-size") glasses as part of their normal replacement cycles.
There would also be far less wastage into drip trays due to topping up beers with lively heads.
[See Ruining the taste.]
Allied Domecq Leisure appealed in the High Court against a Bradford conviction
for short measure. The judges agreed with the magistrates' decision that
a pint means a pint of liquid and that the onus is on the supplier to provide it, not
on the customer to ask for a top-up - an interesting precedent.
CAMRA is dismayed that JD Wetherspoon have gone back on their initiative
to have lined glasses: having introduced them, they're taking them away,
apparently as some customers were confused by them.
Over 4000 pubs now have Children's Licences since they started in January 1995
but the application rate has dropped off. There's no sign of any move to make
conditions more equitable and consistent across the country. Meanwhile many
pubs simply welcome children unofficially and get away with it since the law isn't enforced.
ALE November 1998 No. 292
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