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    Tuesday, 9 December 2008

    How Important Is The Good Beer Guide?


    If you are a landlord and your pub is in the guide, are you chuffed? Do you think it brings extra custom? Is that custom the type you wish to attract? Do you see it as getting one over your fellow landlords in the vicinity who are not in the guide?

    If you are a landlord who is not in the guide, but feels you should be, are you seriously pissed off? Do you think you are missing out on custom? Are you jealous of fellow landlords who are in? Do you think 'I'm better than them, there must be a vendetta'?

    If you are a real ale drinker, do you exclusively drink in pubs which are in the guide? Do you look in the guide before you go to a strange town, so you can drink in those pubs? If the pub you drink in, isn't in the guide and you think it should be, are you willing to do something about it?

    There are a lot of questions here, but I'm genuinely interested in the answers. Any feedback gratefully received.

    12 comments:

    Artist formerly known as Wurst said...

    Personally, I wouldn't listen to anything CAMRA has to say. I'd find out on my own.

    haddonsman said...

    As a drinker, the answers are: no, I don't drink exclusively in GBG pubs; yes, I sometimes look in the guide for pub gen in a new place; no, I'm not willing to do anything about a decent pub that's missing from the guide.

    Because GBG selection is hamstrung by quotas and politics. Good pubs left out because the branch only have room for x pubs in the guide. Middling pubs left in because the landlord is a suck-up.

    It's an interesting source of info. But until it's all-inclusive and stuck onto the CAMRA website (where it can be kept up-to-date) it's more useful as a doorstop.

    Anonymous said...

    I use the GBG a lot, it is most useful when visiting areas you are unused to. I put many pub crawls together for people based on the reasonably up to date information in the GBG. It is more useful in many ways than its closest competitor, imo, BITE, however I will use both. I know how much effort goes in to getting the right pubs published in most branches. I wouldn't be without it.

    imdownthepub

    Darren Turpin said...

    I'd agree with Haddonsman - the most useful pub guides are going to increasingly be the online ones. If you can quickly run a search via your mobile on the town you're visiting and then get a range of recommendations and feedback from fellow drinkers, that's going to be a lot more useful than the opinion of whatever CAMRA committee puts together the selection for the guide.

    Anonymous said...

    I take it with a very big pinch of salt. I've been to lots of very good unlisted pubs and plenty of bloody awful ones that get glowing reviews (the Hotspur, Newcastle anyone? A right dive). I've never found it particularly useful.

    Karen and Mark said...

    Probably very important to the people it's aimed at, regular Joes who like going to the pub.

    Considerably less important to 'enthusiasts' who have easy access to insider information on the UK beer and pub scene.

    I buy a copy every other year, and use it only very occasionaly, and eve then it's the little apple symbol I'm scanning for...

    Anonymous said...

    I think it is useful for what it is. That is a fairly "safe" guide that by its nature tends to keep cosy with the old favourites and not change much. (Which may be why I have bought the 2009 edition - first one since 2005).

    Obviously local guides and various websites give more detail, but you always need to take a balance of the varied views expressed.

    If you are visiting a new town I think the GBG is very useful. I can honestly say that I have never been led to a place where the beer was awful (I have been led to few closed pubs). Nor have I been to a place where I have felt ill at ease (I although I know people who have).

    I suppose this is a consequence of the claim (justified I think) that pubs are chosen on the basis of the beer quality, so they could vary from posh hotel to criminal hangout.

    I am not sure how helpful the PC terminology is - e.g. for "lively pub" read punch ups most nights.

    Tyson said...

    It's very important. Just ask a landlord who has been left out.

    On the plus side, the GBG is easily the best of the pub guides that are out there. On the down side, there needs to be a national standard. Until all Camra branches adopt the National Beer Scoring System there will be too many local distortions.

    Dubbel said...

    I would echo much of what has been said above. It has its uses in areas you have never been to before but is not fail safe. I tend to use it in conjunction with the Real Ale Pub Guide and various websites.

    If this website really gets going and more people sign up to contribute, I could see it becoming a better resource than both the GBG and BITE. As it stands it's fairly useful for my part of the world but there are great swathes of the country that need filling in. Get involved people!

    Anonymous said...

    As a drinker I use the guide quite regularly to search out the first port of call in a new place, but it isn't infallable. Regarding the Hotspur in Newcastle, it has changed hands recently and is 100 times better than in previous years, and in fact was left out of the 2009 GBG due to the drop in quality. It may be back this year, who knows...

    The Woolpack Inn said...

    Sorry, I only just found this.

    My pub is in the guide so I can answer the following:

    If you are a landlord and your pub is in the guide, are you chuffed? Yes

    Do you think it brings extra custom? A small amount

    Is that custom the type you wish to attract? Mostly

    Do you see it as getting one over your fellow landlords in the vicinity who are not in the guide? Not really, because I know many pubs that should be in the guide and are not and others that are in that shouldn’t be – in my humble opinion.

    My pub used to not be in the guide so I can further answer the following:

    If you are a landlord who is not in the guide, but feels you should be, are you seriously pissed off? Yes, very much so

    Do you think you are missing out on custom? Yes

    Are you jealous of fellow landlords who are in? Yes

    Do you think 'I'm better than them, there must be a vendetta'? yes

    I also drink in other pubs so perhaps I can answer the following:

    If you are a real ale drinker, do you exclusively drink in pubs which are in the guide? No, because I know there are other good pubs that are not in the guide.

    Do you look in the guide before you go to a strange town, so you can drink in those pubs? Normally, but it sometimes doesn't find me what I'm looking for.

    If the pub you drink in, isn't in the guide and you think it should be, are you willing to do something about it? I try to, but as a landlord I'm sometimes accused of being biased.

    maeib said...

    Woolpack - Thanks for those comments. Really useful.