Tuesday, 11 May 2021

That's all for now folks!

I’ve been suffering from a touch of “writer’s block,” even though, after yesterday’s announcement from the Prime Minister, there’s plenty to write about. For some, like prolific blogger and avid GBG "ticker" Retired Martin, seven days is too long to wait for the opportunity to enjoy a drink within the confines of a pub, but with the weather still quite changeable, I’m sure Martin is not alone in his desire for a pint indoors.

Beer continues to make the headlines in other ways, with brewers such as Heineken having to limit supplies of certain brands, to just three kegs per pub. The company admit that they underestimated demand, with sales levels hovering around what would be normal levels for April, with all pubs open. But with only 40% of outlets able to open with outdoor service, this demonstrates an unprecedented surge in demand, caused by months of pent-up longing for a pub-pulled pint.

Particularly hard hit are Heineken’s Birra Moretti and Amstel brands, despite the firms UK breweries working flat out. The struggling to keep up with demand scenario was confirmed by rivals, Budweiser Brewing, although the latter haven’t experienced any significant shortages so far.

All is not lost though, as the British Beer & Pub Association have stated there is still plenty of beer to go around, so it will be interesting to see what happens next week when pubs are allowed to serve customers in an indoor setting.

Looking further afield, it will probably come as no surprise that Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest has been cancelled for the second year running. The news comes as Germany struggles to contain the second wave of Covid; a situation compounded by the slow roll-out of the country’s vaccination programme.

The cancellation comes at roughly the same time as last year’s announcement but given all the work involved and massive amount of preparation that goes into staging the event, the decision was perhaps inevitable.  This is despite the availability of vaccines, and the world seemingly in a better place than this time last year.

It is the right call in my view, as Oktoberfest attracts some six million visitors each year, many of whom are from overseas. The thought of all those bodies, huddled together in the myriad of tents that cover the fairground (Wiess’n), swaying away in time to the Oompah band, inhibitions loosened after several large mugs of strong, Festbier, and you’ve got the perfect cocktail of conditions for allowing the virus to start spreading again. Far better to wait another year and then, fingers crossed, enjoy one helluva party!

It’s a shame that the International Olympic Committee aren’t thinking along the same lines, rather than plough on with the Tokyo Games.  Even more so when one considers the authorities in Japan still haven’t got Corona properly under control, and the roll-out of vaccines in the country has barely begun.

 I imagine it’s all about the money, as Jessie J sang, ten years ago now, but what about the athletes and other competitors? Where is the Olympic
glory in giving it your all, in front of a handful of specially invited spectators, in an otherwise empty stadium?  Think of the millions of Yen spent building these arenas, the swimming pools, cycle tracks etc, to say nothing of all the associated access and transit systems.

Again, why not wait another year, and then re-start the whole four-year Olympic cycle afresh, in 2022? The world really needs to show a little more patience here – Take That, if you’ll pardon the pun and associated musical reference.

My final piece of news is I eventually finished March’s box of a dozen dark beers, which I received through my subscription to FUGSCLUB. There were some stunning beers in the box, and I will probably highlight some of the stand-out ones in a later post.

In the meantime, April’s box arrived nearly three weeks ago, and all I’ve done so far, is lovingly admire some of the, from a distance. They will keep though, and if I carry on accumulating them at this rate, I shall have a nice little stash tucked away in time for that “C” word.

The other bonus is, if I carry my subscription through unto June, which I fully intend to do, I will receive a £15 voucher that I can use in either of Fuggles two beer cafés, when they finally reopen, later next week. 

So, for the time being at least, as the curtain goes down and the Looney Tunes credits start to roll, “That’s all for now folks!”


retiredmartin said...

I was going to comment immediately, Paul, but there was so much to reflect on I came back to it today.

Lots of sensible points here, particularly the Olympics. Personally I thought all but local park football should have been cancelled last March as football without spectators and piped crowd noise is beyond farce. As with the Olympics, they should postpone the Euros (20 no 21) until folk from different countries can get together and make a proper spectacle.

On beer availability, it's been great to see that 40% odd of pubs so busy, often at times they'd have been closed in previous years. Pent-up demand, boredom, even some good weather all helped.

The only thing is, outside the specialist beer pubs, it's been all lager and Smooth and cider; I haven't seen the cask bounce (yet), though cask quality has been good.

Keep blogging.

Britain Beermat said...

I'd agree with Martin Paul and say I've not had a bad pint of cask yet, in fact it's been excellent. Only two pubs haven't had it on so still in demand...nice post with some great points...you can always get your athletics fix at the Perry Barr Games next year in Brum!

Paul Bailey said...

Cask quality has been good Martin, even in my somewhat limited experience so far this spring.

The Olympics really should be postponed until next year. I was talking to a Japanese colleague today, and she told me the country is in denial over the seriousness of the current Covid situation. This was backed up by a report I saw earlier, that hospitals in Osaka are becoming overwhelmed with critical cases.

As for blogging, I certainly intend to continue, and with pubs re-opening for indoor service from Monday, there should be plenty for me to write about.

retiredmartin said...

When I saw "That's All Folks" I wondered if you were taking a Beermat style sabbatical ! Phew.

Paul Bailey said...

No need to panic Martin, I have no plans for taking a sabbatical, although I have been feeling rather jaded of late - as I will explain in the next post.

Monday's return to something like normal service in our pubs should provide more opportunities for that quick lunchtime pint - something that's virtually impossible when having to pre-book and queue.

Consequently there will be more pub related stuff to write about, as I've just about exhausted topics such as drinking at home and lunchtime walks.

I've been enjoying your posts though, particularly those about your new home city.😊🍻