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14-03-2017, 08:52
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One of the things you can do on the background system to CAMRA's WhatPub (https://whatpub.com/), if you have the right permissions, is download all the data for your own CAMRA Branch area. I gave it a go and did some number crunching, though I am fairly hobbled by being pretty unaccomplished at Excel.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-W3ME_mqBVmY/WMed9KjlIuI/AAAAAAAAGtk/jZBK5oQk67crWbdVil1Y9N9_etmFnFmUwCLcB/s320/The_Rochdale_and_Manor_Brewery_Ltd.jpg (https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-W3ME_mqBVmY/WMed9KjlIuI/AAAAAAAAGtk/jZBK5oQk67crWbdVil1Y9N9_etmFnFmUwCLcB/s1600/The_Rochdale_and_Manor_Brewery_Ltd.jpg)Now I expected a lot of JW Lees and there is. They have no less than 86 of their pubs in our area. What fascinated me though was the number of Sam Smith's pubs we have. No less than 30, most of which, if not all, must have been acquired by Sam's when they bought Rochdale and Manor Brewery in 1948 and closed it in 1968, though it continued to be a Sam's Depot until the seventies. (Funnily enough one of my friends from the Tavern worked at the brewery itself). I reckon we (Rochdale, Oldham and Bury Branch (http://rob.camra.org.uk/)) must have one of best concentrations of Sam's pubs in any CAMRA Branch area. In fact our geographical area may well be the top one in the country, depending of course on how you choose to define such things.

Now like Mudgie (http://pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.co.uk/) I have quite a fascination for Sam's though unlike that esteemed commentator, I spend little time in them, apart from when in London and I want a cheaper pint - or just a good old fashioned boozer. I have though met Humphrey Smith and briefly exchanged pleasantries with him - well I was pleasant and he was sarcastic - but it all counts.

Sadly though we have 30 Sam's pubs, only 4 sell real ale, which is a great pity, but the brewery is very careful about which pubs get cask. Too careful some might say and something we, CAMRA, must talk about. In fact it was querying the removal of cask from the Yew Tree that my odd encounter with Humph occurred, but I digress. It seems though to me that a bit of fun can be had by visiting the remaining Sam's pubs I haven't been to. After all they are mostly handy enough.

I'll let you know how I get on. It might take me a while though. I really don't get out enough.

I must write up my Christmas tour of a few London Sam's pubs at Christmas. I'm a bit behind on that one.

Trip Advisor has interesting reviews of the food at the Yew Tree. You can pick out Humphrey's failed centralising the food experiment easily enough.

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