Monday, 11 April 2011

Wetherspoons: friend or foe?

One of the debates currently raging in the beer world concerns if JD Wetherspoons is an asset to the beer industry or if their stack em high, sell em cheap mentality is demeaning the good name of British beer. After being hassled to update this blog more frequently I thought I'd throw my 2 cents into the discussion.

Most Wetherspoons consistently have a range of real ales on for nicely low prices. The main argument against them is that in their ambition to sell large quantities of ale, the quality can sometimes suffer. Firstly, I feel that this argument holds little weight as the quality of the beer in Wetherspoons is not significantly worse than many other reputable outlets. I can't count the number if times I've seen the Cask Marque symbol displayed with pride in a pubs window only to go in and be presented with a poor range of badly kept beer. The hurt is doubled if, for example, you end up paying £3.50 for a shockingly kept pint of London Pride. At least in Wetherspoons the damage to the wallet is kept at a minimum.

Secondly, the frequent beer festivals held by the chain bring a large range of quality ales together in one place at occasionally disgustingly low prices. I once frequented a Wetherspoons in Manchester to be greeted with a lovely pint for under £1.50!

Finally, by selling the beer cheap it means that a whole new class of beer drinkers can be introduced to real ale. Many of my friends have been converted to real ale as soon as they find out that it is often around 50p cheaper per pint. Even if they're drinking it for the wrong reasons at least it's being drunk. Furthermore, the array of 50p off vouchers provided to me as a CAMRA member don't harm the cause either.

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