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Craft beer quotas in pubs

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Postby TheBeerNut » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:24 am

After the latest round of complaints that Ireland's big brewers are engaging in anti-competitive practices against the smaller ones, I asked what the industry would like to happen. It's all very well to point out a problem, but to fix it you need to propose a change to the rules that will actually work.

In an article on The Journal yesterday, White Hag has made a suggestion: a quota for bar taps. This would require pubs to carry a certain percentage of independent beers in the line-up. No number is suggested, though the figure of 30% is mentioned.

30 is the percentage of Irish music that radio stations are supposed to play: from a quick reading around, it seems to be a voluntary code of practice, though one that's widely ignored, with some stations playing less than 3% Irish. If you were going to do something similar for beer, and make it meaningful, it would have to be a strict rule and enforced.

What does anyone else think? Is it something Beoir should get behind? And how exactly should it work?
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Postby andrew » Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:59 pm

Well, it would have to be legislated for, otherwise the publicans/macros would simply ignore it.

A crazy idea would be to approach Diageo and get them to put their money where their mouth is regarding the Open Gate Brewery. We've heard enough from them about promoting Irish craft and I think it's time that they are told to piss or get off the pot.
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Postby TheBeerNut » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:16 pm

What do you mean? They do usually have a guest beer at Open Gate, and pretty much always have a couple at events.
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Postby andrew » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:36 pm

TheBeerNut wrote:What do you mean? They do usually have a guest beer at Open Gate, and pretty much always have a couple at events.

Yes, but move that on to having their sales team promote local craft to their accounts, on a "rising tide floats all boats" kinda thing. I know this won't happen because they've put a lot of money into faux craft.
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Postby irish_goat » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:18 pm

A quota would never work and would never be enforced. Consider an "old man bar" or any shithole bar where you know before you walk in that it's never gonna have any craft beer. If they're obliged to stock craft beer there'd be 2 scenarios, either no brewery will bother supplying them, because the outlay is too much, or worse, the bar gets a few taps in and nobody buys any pints leaving the taps to run dry and the breweries having wasted a few hundred quid installing them.
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Postby TheBeerNut » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:31 pm

You'd end up with Remit Beer, a new low-alcohol style brewed to be the cheapest and plainest beer on the bar.
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Postby andrew » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:18 am

I can also see a situation where the likes of Diagio and C&C will be involved in writing the definition of the quota in order to be the 30% Irish that each pub would need to stock. There's a reason the big boys like to spaff money on lobbyists...
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Postby Lugh Longhand » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:43 pm

Would it be more useful to lobby the government to provide an incentive to publicans to stock independent local beer?
I don't mean the tax incentive the breweries get, I can't see that happening. Perhaps a % reduction in rates based on the percentage of local beer stocked
The usual answer I get from publicans when I ask why they don't stock craft is either "there's no call for it" or "That's mad stuff that would blow the head off you"
So brand loyalty (big thing in this country) or ignorance (ditto) but I think if the offer is there another Irish trait is curiosity :)
Since when has popularity been a measure of quality?
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Postby TheBeerNut » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:51 pm

Rates are governed locally, though, aren't they?
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Postby andrew » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:13 pm

The idea of a rebate is an interesting one. How would it work? Would it be based on just having a tap or taps. Or would the business need to show that they had actively been selling the beer. How could people go about getting the rebate revoked for a premises if they turned out to not have Irish craft on tap? There would probably need to be some blacklisting- if a pub does take the Macro's shilling to remove craft taps then that should render them exempt from ever applying for the rebate in the future.

I still think we should resurrect the "Support Your Local That Supports Your Local" campaign.
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Postby Lugh Longhand » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:14 am

I'm sure there is some mechanism to allow central government to reimburse councils for the rate rebate.
Someone in a government department may have a better idea if we could get someone to sponsor it at Oireachtas level.
The Beoir window stickers were a good idea but difficult to police in rural areas where you may not visit the pubs that often.
Could we "license" our logo (or develop a marque) to pubs that meet the recommended criteria or we set a criteria (Spoons already do something similar?) to use on their promo material?

Something for discussion at the AGM perhaps?
I only this morning persuaded the wife to rise early on Saturday to drive me to the train so I will be attending. I'll indicate this in the appropriate thread
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Postby Lugh Longhand » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:16 am

Should we now split this into a members area?
Since when has popularity been a measure of quality?
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Postby TheBeerNut » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:49 pm

Lugh Longhand wrote:if we could get someone to sponsor it at Oireachtas level.
There's no point in Beoir doing a solo run on any of this: it doesn't have the resources. Solutions would have to be proposed and led by the industry if they're to have any chance of success.

Lugh Longhand wrote:Could we "license" our logo (or develop a marque) to pubs that meet the recommended criteria or we set a criteria
"We Paid For Our Own Umbrellas: A Beoir Guarantee".

I quite like the California system (as I recall it being explained to me in the pub; may not resemble actual system in actual California): no brewery may supply any item to a retailer for free that is of a greater value than $0.25. So beermats, pens, keyrings are fine; kegs, furniture, TV subs are out.
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Postby andrew » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:38 am

I saw an interesting argument on Twitter regarding decline in macro sales which went along the lines of: it's difficult for a pub to sell a pint of Carling for £4.50 when punters can buy a slab of cans for £12. Maybe this is an angle that we can pursue by pointing out to publicans that having a greater variety of beer might attract people who prefer to drink their macro, by the slab, at home.
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