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Some time ago I mentioned on another blog that it must take some doing to just open a pub with 10 handpumps and a load of unusual beer on keg. We're averaging just short of 800 pints of cask a week, the thought of doing twice that terrifies me - the cellar isn't big enough as it is!

But it seems we're developing into one of those places. And the nice thing (I think) about how we're developing is the customers are coming with us. The regulars that still, and always will, drink Butty Bach are starting to ask about the guest ales - especially if they see a stout or wheatbeer on cask. A free sample, and then sit back to watch the show. The first sampler of a wheatbeer we had on recently quite loudly proclaimed he didn't like it. And that anyone who did must have something wrong with them.

Just as he finished that second sentence, the one next to him finished off the sample and, just as loudly, told the bar that he didn't think it was too bad and needed another sample to make sure. This developed into a healthy debate about ale between the two that lasted a good 20 minutes - a couple of phrases I'd heard before popped up ("But it's cloudy!" // "Drink with your tongue man, not your eyes!")

And the other thing about the way the pubs developed over the years is it's been very clear that we're an ale house. But we haven't left a lonely Carling tap sitting on the back bar - we've brought the lager drinkers with us - always happy to give them a free sample, and gradually upgrading the lagers. Undoubtedly we lost a hand full of drinkers when we changed from Fosters K1664 Carling to Peroni Amstel and Carling but what I was surprised with was how many gave the Amstel or Peroni a go first. Many of whom carried on drinking with us, talking about the different lagers and what they liked and didn't like about the new ones.

Recently we've changed again - Amstel proved not popular enough compared to the other lagers. It seemed most of our customers either wanted the 'entry level' lager or Peroni at the top end. Hoegaarden was also changed - again it sold, but not enough for what I wanted. Everything on the bar has to earn it's place and if it doesn't sell, it gets changed or removed. After speaking to customers, suppliers and other people in the trade I found an alternative that should see us selling more. Erdinger. We've had in bottles for a while and it sold well and it appears to be doing well on draught. Brooklyn in for Amstel hasn't sold as well as I'd hoped, but it's a grower. I'm positive it tastes different on draft than in bottles though. Fruitier - more orange flavour.

The reason I keep tweaking the offer is because I'm looking to the future. Pubs are going to have a hard time in the next couple of years. Taxation is going to be looked at, not like a cash cow (see the past government) but it's going to be tweaked, and there's only so much you can take before putting your prices up. In the next 6 months we've got the PBR, VAT increase, suppliers increase and the budget to look forward to. The pub of the future will be offering drinks that return a good GP - be it cash or % - and convey value for money at the same time. Mega brands, found everywhere, just won't cut it in 18 months time. Fast forward a few years, and I honestly don't think we'll be drinking pints any more.

Drinking in pubs will become so expensive that the next move is to offering halves of flavoursome, strong beer. So £3 won't get you a pint of ale, but it'll get you half of Leffe blonde on draught, for example. Just something I wanted to throw out there.

Brewers of stronger, full of flavour ales, be they hop bombs or rich strong stouts, will see their beer distribution grow. Instead of 18s, it'll be in 9 gallon firkins. And instead of 9s, it's be in pins, 4.5 gallon containers the height of a child first chair.

I just hope it doesn't happy too soon. I'll be raising a pint at my son's 18th in 15 and a half years regardless.