In a move guaranteed to warm the cockles of any cask drinker’s heart, Enterprise are to delist Carlsberg and Castlemaine XXXX at the end of January. Ok, they’re replacing them with Becks Vier and Amstel, so nothing too exciting, but I love it when the lager boys have a spat. It’s obviously very bad news for the brands concerned, but they are a bit of a joke, aren’t they? Enterprise claim Carlsberg is no longer viable because volumes and demand have dropped. Carlsberg hit back with “At a time when tenants are facing unprecedented challenges and need support, Enterprise has taken a decision to restrict their choice and offer them brands that are not comparable, in that they are significantly less popular with the consumer, are more expensive and have a much lower rate of sale.” Ooh, bitchy.
It seems though that not everyone is happy-licensee Grant Hollier has written to Enterprise complaining that Carlsberg contributes 33% of his draught sales. He says that if they can’t provide the exact equivalent “I will have no alternative but to source Carlsberg Draught lager elsewhere.” A couple of points here. Firstly, if you do intend to buy outside of the tie, don’t advertise the fact! Secondly, I think he overvalues the appeal of Carlsberg. I don’t know his pub-the Plough & Harrow in Harpenden, but as he says there are plenty of other pubs with it on, presumably there are reasons why people choose to drink in his boozer. Regulars tend to be loyal to a pub and its landlord. If they’re happy with the Plough, they’ll continue to drink there. Stella is only 0.2% stronger and, with the right marketing, he’ll soon be able to convince the local numpties who drink Carlsberg that Stella is a great pint. After all, InBev have been successfully conning people into thinking that for years.