The end of Boddies?
Have we finally reached the end of the line for Boddingtons? The once iconic brand, hailed as the “cream of Manchester” seems to have suffered the beer equivalent of Dignitas. Hydes Brewery, preparing for their move to Salford, stooped production in March of this year. Brand owners AB Inbev were conspicuous in their silence about its future and now we have reports that pubs have sold their last lot.
Of course, if this is the end, there will not be many mourners at the funeral. The brand has been badly treated since its acquisition by AB Inbev in 2000 and has seen a near 75% slide in sales in that time. However, as recently as 2010 it was still the UK’s sixth best selling Bitter. Although, perhaps, there were signs in the runes in 2011 when, rather like a football manager getting a vote of confidence, AB’s UK president said that they “still believe in the brand”.
Purists might say the beer itself has been in decline for many years anyway. Certainly the rot had set in way back when Whitbread first had it and Ron Pattinson and his research might explain why. The truly-dire, bastardised 3.5% smooth version is still being churned out in Samlesbury and our American cousins can enjoy a 4.6% “Boddingtons Pub Ale”. Crucially they both eschew the once crucial Manchester connection.
Perhaps it’s best to finally put this wounded beast down. And, to look at the positive side, it could be an opportunity for former stockists to up their game and offer their customers something more demanding. Well, one can dream...