Once, beer was more or less beer.
Then along came whatever you want to call it (premium/designer/craft beer), and discount supermarket beer, and two extremes were established: bang-for-buck vs. taste.*
In the middle, though, remained good, solid, standard beer — a trade-off between price and taste, affordable to most.
But, we belatedly realised last night, good, solid, standard beer in an ordinary pub has become a premium product, largely due to taxation.
By choosing to drink somewhere other than your own house, you are making a decision to ‘upgrade’ your experience, and paying (where we live) up to an extra £2 a pint for the privilege.
It’s a bit like choosing to eat a pizza in a restaurant rather than at home.
The pubs that seem best equipped to survive in this new arrangement are those which are able to offer something unique.
For example, our local Dock Inn, among its many other charms, has exclusive rights on the distribution of Blue Anchor Spingo in Penzance — a good, solid, standard beer, but a different one, generally served in excellent condition.
* We’ve used ‘taste’ deliberately because it covers both ‘flavour’ and the feeling of exercising ‘discernment’.