About Me

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Manchester, United Kingdom
Tyson is a beer hound and cheese addict living in the beery metropolis paradise known as Manchester
If the people are buying tears, I'll be rich someday, Ma

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Our Friends Electric

There’s been a lot of chatter recently about Sam Smiths and some rose tinted views on their prices and their seemingly axiomatic love for all things quality. It has to be said, though, that they are a funny beast and like any/all pub groups, get it wrong sometimes.

For example, they seem to have a dichotomic approach to real ale. Producing only one, you’d think it would be in their own best interest to support it wholeheartedly. However, swathes of their pubs don’t sell it and whist they lavish money and time on some of their estate, some of it is in need of TLC. And the imposition of a dumbed down menu on their managed houses didn’t go down well with publicans or customers.

Having said all that, I was surprised to see the recent change at Sinclairs in Manchester-surely one of their flagship boozers? They’ve gone all retro and ripped the handpumps out, replacing them with box fonts. Somewhat bizarre in a pub they are always trying to sell as “traditional”. Apparently the change has seen a drop in sales, as presumably people are creatures of habit and are ignorant of electric dispense-which I presume they now are. Whether this is just a temporary blip, time will only tell. And they really should stop insisting on plastic glasses inside.


Tandleman said...

I refuse to go there these days because of the plastic thing. Are you saying the beer is still cask though?

Tyson said...

I didn't have any because I didn't want to be forced into drinking beer from plastic glasses inside a pub.

However, it's Old Brewery Bitter which, last time I heard, was all cask. They have always made a distinction between that and the keg only Old Sovreign. If that's still the case, they could do with letting people (and the staff) know.

RedNev said...

Sam Smith’s are eccentric and sometimes shoot themselves in the foot. When the new licensing system came out, they objected to it and refused to pay for any music licences as a protest. During Whitby Folk Week, an enormous pub called the Plough used to be heaving every year with four separate music sessions in three different rooms and the rear yard. With the level of sales involved, they would have recovered the cost of the licence within minutes. Since the new licences came out, the Plough has been nearly empty during Folk Week ~ they must have lost a fortune.

Curmudgeon said...

My first (underage) experience of Sam Smith's was drinking cask OBB served by electric pumps in the Golden Lion in Frodsham.

Do all the Sam's pubs in London that are described as having no real ale not serve OBB at all?

Tyson said...

Some London Smiths pubs sell OBB but some sell only the keg Old Sovreign. There really isn't a pattern you can identify.

ChrisM said...

My first bar job was at a Sam's pub in Stockport, the Boar's Head - I believe the managers I worked under transferred to Sinclairs. Completely agree about 'plastics', can't stand them, but don't mind electric dispense as long as it is actually cask.