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01-01-2014, 14:02
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The New Year is often a time for looking forward to what the next twelve months are likely to bring. Now, I have to say I have a rather mixed record on predictions having, for example, greatly overstated the extent to which brewers would re-jig their beer ranges in response to the 2.8% and 7.5% duty thresholds introduced a couple of years ago, and believing that two-thirds-pint “schooners” had actually more than zero chance of being widely adopted.
However, I did get it right with the strength of Old Speckled Hen (http://pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/watering-ale.html), as it has recently been cut to 5.0%, if not to 4.8%. And a couple of years ago I indulged in some wishful thinking (http://pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/always-look-on-bright-side.html), none of which of course came to pass.
So, taking inspiration from Archbishop Cranmer (http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/his-graces-predictions-for-2014.html), here are a few random but rather dull thoughts about what we are likely to see during 2014:

Beer duty will rise by the rate of inflation. The duty escalator will continue to apply to all other drinks categories

Craft keg ales will not make a significant breakthrough into mainstream pubs, but there will be a modest expansion of British-brewed “craft lager”

Beer sales in the on-trade will decline by about 5%, those in the off-trade by slightly less, but still showing a negative figure

Overall per capita alcohol consumption will continue to fall

There will be more breweries in the UK at the end of the year than at the beginning

At least one popular beer brand currently sold at 4.8% ABV will have its strength reduced to 4.5%. “The taste will be unaffected”, its makers will claim

A prominent pub in the Stockport MBC area that nobody had imagined was vulnerable will close its doors for the last time

Some bizarre concept of which I cannot even dream will become the “next big thing” amongst railway arch brewers and gushing bloggers will claim that “everyone is brewing XXXX”
England will not progress beyond the quarter-finals of the World Cup (if that), thus denying a boost to the brewing industry and pub trade

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