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I know I have visited this subject before, but after coming across a couple of gems I thought it was worthy of a further whinge.

What do we want from a pump clip? Personally, I am happy if tells me the brewery, the beer name, the ABV and maybe the style of beer, if it is not obvious from the name. But maybe I am discounting the obvious. It is useful to be able to read the thing as well! That, I have discovered is not always the case, and to back this up two guilty beers were on side by side in a pub last night. One was full of so much information that it took ages to find a name and an abv, the other was printed in such a colour that only by removing the clip and squinting under a good light was the actual beer name apparent.

I am not into naming and shaming, but the two breweries in question were Steel City and Thorne. There is never any problem in identifying either brewery from their clips if you have come across them before. The former brewery provides all the usual information a drinker needs, but unfortunately a lot he doesn't really want or understand. Why do we need to know the IBU (international bitterness unit) for example? Or a code to tell us where it was brewed?

Yes I know (before I am on the receiving end of a Dave U... rant) that this is vital information for tickers, but the average drinker does not have that specialist interest. The description of the beer on the clip tells us it is a black IPA so we expect hops in it and bitterness, but I do not have a guide to tell me what IBU means what, so that is really irrelevant. The same applies to the colour guide on the clip - without the scale, this information is worthless.

However this is small beer compared to the Thorne clip. Whoever decided that lilac would be a good colour for a clip when combined with black lettering ? It does not not stand out, in fact it is unreadable. The bar is full of people squinting at the pump clip trying to work out what it says.

If you are trying to sell a product, surely the main thing at the point of sale is to make it attractive to the consumer. What applies to cornflakes, cat food and books, must surely apply to beer as well. It needs to catch the eye, not to have so much information as to confuse the customer nor be in such a colour as to put the customer off. I must say these are two unusual examples. Most are easily readable and simple to understand, but please, if you are going to the effort of brewing something you want people to drink, at least make it attractive enough for people to want to buy it.

(in assocation with Steve Goodwill rants!!)