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15-01-2014, 11:30
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If you listen to some people, we are enjoying a golden age of beer drinking in the UK. There are more breweries than there have been for a hundred years, an unprecedented range of styles and flavours, a growth in specialist beer bars across the country and a real buzz of interest and enthusiasm around the subject.
But, taking a few steps back, things don’t look anywhere near so rosy. Alcohol consumption has been steadily falling for ten years, and over 50% of the 18-24 age group now say they haven’t had a single drink in the past week. From the peak, about a third of the pubs in Britain have closed down, 10,000 of those in the past six years alone. Over the past ten years, total beer consumption has fallen by 24%, that in pubs and bars by 37%. From a wider perspective, we look like a country steadily falling out of love with beer.
So I can’t help thinking that, in the not-too-distant future, there’s going to be a collision between these two trends, in which there can only be one winner. It’s like the Beer Eloi happily frolicking with their saisons and double IPAs, in blissful unawareness that outside in the wider world the Morlocks of prohibition are steadily gathering their forces ready to prick their bubble.
In the words of the song (bonus point if you remember it),
The future train's coming down the hill
And we're tied to the track

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