Friday, 13 February 2009

Good Beer Guide

Some analysis of Good Beer Guide pubs in London reached me a while ago and I think it worthy of sharing and comment.

The last three guides have the following numbers of Youngs pubs :

2007 = 53 pubs
2008 = 44 pubs
2009 = 35 pubs

The following is the same total for Fullers pubs :

2006 = 40
2007 = 38
2008 = 36
2009 = 36

The total number of Fullers pubs in the last four years has remained relatively stable, but there are very few that have been in for all of the four years, with most only being in one or two of those years. There is a lot more change as to which pub is in which year.

And finally Wetherspoons :

2006 = 26
2007 = 30
2008 = 24
2009 = 34

Wetherspoons has increased in number steadily over the years apart from a glitch in 2008 which relates to the end of the poor eras around 2006 & 2007 when real ale was less of a priority before its current policy and much improved availability and quality. I believe that Wetherspoons managers are on a bonus scheme that includes extra benefit if the pub makes it into the Guide.

Nothing really significant to add. I don't suppose Youngs will be too bothered by this statistic as it could be argued that this shows that their pubs are moving away from being beer led to a more mixed offering - a deliberate movement for them that has had significant investment since the brewery sale.

Although Fuller has the current largest number, I believe there is the potential to do much better. It is clear that they have many pubs on the fringe of the guide. Some more deliberate focus could improve their number.

Wetherspoons are improving (No sh*t Sherlock). Their excellent beer festivals and deliberate focus on CAMRA campaigning has done much to ingratiate them with CAMRA branches around the country. Reports are often mixed but the figures cannot lie.


Tim said...

JDW houses often offer a wide range of ales, but they are nearly always served too cold or are in poor condition. Just because they support CAMRA does not mean they serve 'good beer'. I think teh take home shouyld be that JDW pubs serve beer that would be good if they bothered to look after it and not appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Billy Sollocks said...

Do the math!

Boak said...

Interesting stuff.

I now know (thanks to you, Tanders etc) that the only criteria for inclusion should be consistently good beer, and most of the Fullers pubs I frequent do exactly that. Given that they have a quality assurance programme, you would expect that.

However, I can't help but think that the people who are judging will be more excited by a pub offering lots of different, changing beers from different breweries (eg as Wetherspoons do) than a Fullers pub, even if it happens to serve some wonderful beers in great condition.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is what would Fullers have to do to get more pubs in? I don't think it's a quality thing, as I rarely go into a Fullers pub where the beer isn't in great condition.

Anonymous said...

I have felt that Young's have been slipping for the last 10 years or so, so this is no surprise, really - even if it's sad to watch it happen.
At the same time, there aren't many Wetherspoons pubs where I would sit with a newspaper for a few afternoon hours - i¨'s more a matter of popping in, downing a few halves and then going on your way.

The Beer Justice said...

Boak, I think you are right, Fuller's pubs should be a shoo-in on beer quality alone. The only advice, which I give to any licensee, is that engaging on a more focused and individual basis with your local CAMRA branch gives a good chance of inclusion in the book as it opens up a dialogue and helps with the understanding and sharing of CAMRA policies.