Mr Brown's first moan of the year does not really concern beer, but as part of the drinks industry I am concerned about the quality of some of the wine served in our pubs around the area. It is only in the last 20 years that wine drinking in Britain has become part of our way of life. In the dark days just before CAMRA was formed to save God's own beverage, wine served in pubs was, at best, dreadful.
All these years later real ale has flourished, as has the growth in wine sales, but the quality of the wine served in our pubs has hardly improved. I know many fine pubs with a magnificent reputation for well-kept real ales and for constantly changing their guest beers with great imagination and regard for the thirsty punter. Unfortunately there are many publicans who would rather buy wine as cheaply as possible regardless of the quality. I consider this as spoiling the ship for a hape'th of tar. I have even offered my services free of charge to help improve this situation but many a publican is blinkered to this particular problem.
I am not happy with wine on tap which comes in bags either. The quality is often not up to standard and again, if the sales are low, the end of the bag is often awful - but publicans are reluctant to change the bag because they are not sure how much they are throwing away.
I urge you, dear publican, especially if your wine sales are buoyant, to look at the quality and range of your wines - you may be missing out on a very important part of the drinks market. Also, consider the position of a former Mrs Brown who was happy to visit a pub where the beer was good but was even more enthusiastic if the wine quality was good!