Friday, 18 October 2013

Want a Decent Glass of Wine? Get Down The Pub (Finally!)

Last Tuesday was the England / Poland international match. As someone who doesn't like international football, is an English-Pole living in Scotland, and was in a pub full of people complaining that we weren't watching Strachan's Tartan Army attempt to throttle Croatia, it seemed like a really good excuse to drink.

Pub offerings have improved dramatically in the past few years. I've been able to go from drinking a pint of anodyne lager to having a glass of Albarino to quell my nerves. It's astonishing the diversity of the On-Trade these days (that's pubs, bars and restaurants to you lot) and it's a market that increases in complexity as drinkers become more discerning and demanding.

It's a bit like showing sport - several years ago you could only catch the footie in your basic boozer, now it's shown in style bars, five start hotels and gastro-pubs. It's the same with wine - once confined to restaurants, you were lucky if your local pub had anything other than wine on draft. I now write wine lists for a variety of types of pubs, nightclubs, sports clubs and student unions.

It hasn't happened overnight, but it's a delight to go out to a local bar to shout at the telly and start an argument with a Celtic fan (one of my favourite pastimes) and be able to do so with a glass of something decent in my hand.

Have you been into a Wetherspoons recently? People seem to think these are really dreadful pubs, and whilst I'm not about to join the Curry Club, this is a national chain which is selling Crozes Hermitage for under £20 a bottle: it's the FUTURE guys, and it's awesome.

Yet for some reason you hear the constant complaint that the UK consumer doesn't like wine and doesn't know anything about it. Open your eyes, go down your local and ask to see a wine list. It might not be as dreadful as you'd feared.

(Scotland beat Croatia by the way. Croatia are really good. I have no idea what happened because I was stuck with an England game which was ok but now having beaten several wholly average teams and drawing with a few more wholly average teams we have secured a place in a tournament we have absolutely ZERO chance of winning.)

Frances was watching the football at the Southsider in Edinburgh. She drank prosecco and no-one judged her.

What's the best pub wine you've had recently? And what more can be done to improve pub wine lists?

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