Happy bingeing

Apparently today is the day most chosen for Christmas parties, and therefore the day when ambulance crews are most poised to pick up the pieces. I seem to remember that last year there was a lot of hysteria in the media about this, but there aren’t so many silly stories this year, perhaps because society didn’t in fact break down and the streets did not run with blood as predicted.

The Evening Standard and other related papers are having a go, though, with the story that Londoners are estimated to spend £120m on booze in two days (today and yesterday). However, that’s only £20 per Londoner (assuming 6m adult Londoners*), spread across two days. £10.00 doesn’t buy you many drinks in Central London these days, particularly in a wanky City bar (bottle of Becks – £4.20!!!!!!!!!**)

Given the hysteria about binge-drinking at the moment, £120m seems surprisingly low.

Boak

*Figure derived from the Office of National Statistics estimates in 2006. The figure of 6m includes the over 16s (because apparently they’re all drinking a bottle of wine a week) and excludes short-term migrants.

**That’s about a million dollars for our readers across the pond.

Council sponsored beer

breckland.jpgA while ago, I wondered why more local breweries didn’t advertise by the sides of railway lines, like they do in Germany. One reason we came up with was that local councils wouldn’t want to be seen to promote booze or boozing.

Well, Breckland council have no such worries — earlier this year, they joined forces with the Iceni Brewery to come up with a special beer to welcome home local troops who’d been fighting in Afghanistan.

It’s not clear whether the council actually subsidised the brewing of this special batch of beer, but they’re certainly not shying away from being associated with and promoting a popular, successful local brewery.

I don’t know about you, but nothing about this makes me think (Daily Mail voice): “NOW LOCAL COUNCIL BACKS BINGEING”.

More councils should be backing, subsidising and promoting local their local breweries. They should be proud of them like Breckland Council is of Iceni.

Bailey

Brocket's Beer

brocketsbeer.jpgThe Independent’s list of the 50 best beers in the UK included one brewed for Lord Brocket.

Lord Brocket is an old Etonian who is (just about) famous for (a) having been in prison and (b) appearing on the appalling reality show “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!”

He now has a side-line selling Brocket’s Bacon, Brocket’s Bangers and so on.

I wonder which marketing genius thought that having a minor celebrity mugging on the label would make people want to drink Brocket’s Beer? I mean, the beer itself might be perfectly nice, but, well, just look at him! He’s grinning like a maniac and wearing a tweed jacket. We should probably be grateful he hasn’t got his thumbs up, I suppose.

Still, it could be worse. At least no-one is expecting us to buy Jeffrey Archer IPA or Jonathan Aitken Stout. Not yet, anyway.

50 best beers

Today’s Independent has an article on the 50 best beers available in the UK.  It’s a surprisingly decent piece, although a couple of the choices are a bit odd (as you’d expect). Estrella Damm…? Marks and Spencer’s Italian lager!? And Badger bloody Golden Glory, which I think is disgusting.

I was pleased to see the CO-OP’s Strong Ale in the list. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine: full of dodgy caramel, clear bottle, pasteurised, filtered. But it’s very tasty anyway — sweet and malty, somewhat like a strong mild.

Their number one? St Peter’s IPA, which I’ve never had. I’ll have to get my hands on some and give it a go.