|BRIGGSY WISHES YOU A HAPPY 2014|
I suppose some will think the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and one penny reduction in duty, was the highlight.
However, let's put things in to perspective, shall we.
The ridiculous two percent hike, above annual inflation, was a right kick in the 'meat and two veg.' at the outset,in 2008. Ironically introduced by someone called 'Darling'.
So ditching it, was long overdue!
As for the paltry one copper
coin of the realm being shaved off beer duty. Have you really noticed? Err...NO. And it certainly hasn't helped the much beleaguered pub industry too.
Remember, for every three quid spent, one is trousered by HM Treasury.
In fact, all that piddling penny has done is cause more grief for our licensees, with folk at t'other side of the bar moaning about the slightest increase in the price of their pint.
But that is just my view.
On the plus side, beer choice continues to improve. With the microbreweries continuing to nibble their way into the market of the regional and national brewers.
I have visited many drinking dens in 2013, and what was good to see, was the choice of local brewers ale. I am talking about a 30 mile radius - an area I consider 'local'.
OK, there will come a saturation point for the microbreweries, as pubs continue to close. However, presently, they give the customer and the publican a great selection of ales - and offer good value for money.
Only a few miles from me, in Accrington. One of the areas premier real ale watering holes, Grant's Bar, is currently installing its own microbrewery on the ground floor of the pub.
This type of vision and investment fills you with confidence and hope for the beer industry - and flies in the face of all the doom and gloom you are consistently bombarded with.
One wish for 2014 will be for a better deal for our tied boozers up and down the country. Is Vince Cable going to baulk on his promise of a stringent statutory code of practise?
Alas, I fear already that tied licensees are going to be dealt a "bum hand"when the code finally gets an airing in parliament - hope I am wrong.
So, just to say, have a very merry Christmas. And hope you will return and read my beery ramblings in 2014. :-)