All we’ve ever really asked of big brewers like Greene King is that they make slightly better beer available in their pubs. We don’t expect them to ditch a business model that works for them, turn into Brewdog, throw hops at everything — just sell mainstream beer that doesn’t make us groan with dismay or turn and walk out of a pub. Pep it up a tiny bit, like St Austell did about ten years ago.
When Greene King announced that they’re sprucing up their range — dusting off the cobwebs, if you like — we were pleased to hear it. We’re also glad to hear that other big regional brewers are starting ‘craft beer’ ranges.
It’s a bit rich to moan at them for making crap beer and then, when they do something about it, to call them bandwagon jumpers and cynics. Do some critics want Greene King, Marston’s and Brains to fail? Do they need an enemy to kick against to define what they stand for?
Of course, we’ll have to wait until we’ve tasted GK’s new beers. They might be just as bad and/or boring as their IPA. They might also be as hard to find as their much-vaunted mild — the kind of ghost products which haunt the “Our Beers” lists on many brewer’s websites.