As you may have guessed, Heineken are not my favourite brand of beer at the moment with their complicity in the stitch up that is the blanket restriction of promoting competing brands within a certain distance of an Olympic venue.  This week the news broke on the cost of food and drink within these venues, Heineken are charging £4.20 per 330ml bottle, equating to over £7 per pint.  Other food and drink will be as bad with £8 for fish and chips and £2.40 for a 500ml bottle of Coke.

Lets get back to the beer, as I write this, if I desired I could get 12 bottles identical to those being offered at the venue for £11 from a major supermarket, equivalent of about 90p each. If I went into a pub in Halifax, I’d be paying between £3 and £4 for a pint, still less than the Olympic bottle price.  They (LOCOG) say this higher price is comparable with other events of this nature and the cost is increased to the “temporary nature” of the facilities,

The latter of these excuses I don’t believe for one second.  You have a captive audience, you are the only source of beer, and are on site for nearly 2 months serving every day, this is not temporary.  I am heavily involved in the Ramfest music festival and “temporary nature” is defined as getting an outside bar built and tented, getting beer delivered at the right time, organising cooling facilities for bar kegs, stocking and managing the bottle and can stall, getting a volunteer bar rota and keeping the queues down, just for 7 hours of festival with a limited budget.  Do we charge £7 per pint to cover all this, certainly not, although our cost per pint to do all this far outstrips their cost per pint over the duration of the event.

I don’t deny that the comparative pricing claim is probably true, but saying it is alright to rip people off because other events do holds no ground for me.  I think that the real mark up is to claw back the costs of paying a reputed £10 million to join the Olympic mafia and being able to operate in their cartel.  This is their protection money and ticket holders will be being shaken down for it.

If I come across as anti Olympic I am not, I support what the athletes do and will enjoy certain sporting events, but I think the balance between the sport and the commercial aspects is totally out of balance.  Things do have to be paid for and costs to the taxpayer should be minimised, but you don’t need to sell your soul to the devil totally to do it, you can keep a little back.

Moving on, I was based in Attleborough near Norwich for a couple of days last week, and as expected most pubs were Adnams or Greene King led.  However the hotel had 2 beers I had been wanting to try which I had heard good things about. The two beers were Sharps Doom Bar (from Cornwall) and Worthingtons Bottled White Shield.  The first severely disappointed me, bland, little complexity and not to my taste, not really refreshing me either.  Talking to other people about the beer on twitter, the consensus matched my opinion.

Another draft pint I tried also wasn’t quite right, and someone who commented on the beer also mentioned that the condition of cask might not be at its best best due to the recent heat and related cellar management issues some premises can have.  I will give the beer another go when I see it, but it isn’t one I will go hunting out.  The bottled White Shield IPA was of totally different quality however, well conditioned in the bottle, refreshing, full of taste and well balanced.  A mix of a nice level of hoppiness and malt coming through with a good bitter aftertaste really endeared me to this beer.

Both beers are owned by Molson Coors via takeovers, one tastes like a typical Molson Coors product, in one word uninteresting.  The other is from a 200 year old recipe and is allowed to condition in the bottle until ready and it shows, it may be Coors by name, but not in its heart.  The White Shield is beer well worth hunting out as a good session beer, it is not one which will blow your socks off, but it should please you.

Until next week. Happy Supping

  1. Gareth says:

    I had the Sharp’s DB in a pub near me and it was terrible. Pretty sure it wasn’t the pub’s fault because the next pint I had was also cask and that was fine. Might be the road miles though!

    • santobugtio says:

      Maybe so, I wanted to test this theory with greene king in the area, but could’t bring myself to spend money on their beer. I always give a beer a second change as it could be a one off issue with quality / bad batch. When it happens 2 or 3 times I start to go off it, esc if other ales are OK like you found

  2. Good Post! The reality of the modern beer world is that due to the growing popularity of craft beer is that multi-nationals will take over good breweries. They may well pick and choose the ones they change for entry into a more mainstream market (expect Doombar Creamflow coming to a pub near you!) and flagship craft beers such as White Shield which would only lose them support if they did change it.

    • santobugtio says:

      Exactly I only got interested in the White Shield because it was an original 200 year old recipe, I’ll be honest and say I didn’t realise it as molson owned product until I went to look it up yesterday in researching this beer either, would it have dulled my interest probably not. I’ve also been trying the “legacy beers” from marstons and others of their ilk and liked most of them.