Paula Goddard’s Wines of the Week starting 3rd February 2020
A YouGov study shows that 45% of British adults aged over-55 primarily drink at home and no longer go down to the pub for a quick half or a social chit chat. The Getting in-home drinkers to go out report revealed that in-home drinkers are more likely than average to be married women aged over 45 who are solely responsible for the weekly shop.
Older drinkers, it seems, don’t drink to get drunk – with 90% of respondents reporting this – while 82% said they like to spend their in-home drinking time relaxing.
This continuing bad news for the pub trade – who have seen the rate of pub closure rising dramatically over the last two decades from a base of 61,000 UK pubs in 2000 dropping to just over 48,000 in 2017 – is blighted by yet further research that finds 48% of over 55s are drinking less when going out than two years ago – citing the rising cost of alcoholic drinks and health reasons why this was so.
So what can the pub trade do to bring back the older visitor? Well many are already turning themselves less into places to drink alcohol and more into venues for what is dubbed “informal dining” – that is a place to grab a decent plate of fish and chips for lunch and a nice place with comfy seats to rest up for elevenses with an espresso coffee (now with trained baristas who are skilled in adding a heart or leaf symbol into the froth) and a locally-sourced slice of cake.
But what more could they do? Combine the finding that 9 out of 10 home drinkers consider their free time to be precious and the perception that alcoholic drinks are just too expensive when bought out, and one solution is for pubs to offer a while-you-wait personalised shopping service aimed at the older pub visitor who has popped in for a coffee during their High Street shopping session.
Fancy handing over the top-up grocery list to your personal assistant who will come back within half an hour with the items you asked for? Or that item of dry cleaning being dropped off and our pub assistant returning with the necessary birthday card for the grandchild and a pack of blow-up balloons?
Relax while you consume the coffee and cake (decaffinated and sugar-free as you’re considering health reasons too, remember?) and come out from the ‘pub’ with your shopping done and dusted. A nice vision all round.
PG Wine and Beer Reviews
Adnams Ghost Ship 0.5% Citrus Pale Ale
Fancy drinking beer but without the alcohol? Adnams addition to this expanding genre of beer is pale mahogany coloured beer with a short-lived head. Its mouth-watering sharpness needs balancing with food. It does taste and smell like a beer though.
M&S Greenwich Winter Spiced Porter
This is a full strength beer at 5.5% alcohol (pretty normal these days) that smells of liquorice cough sweets and tastes of coffee and allspice.
Kleine Kapelle Pinot Grigio 2018
Tastes and smells of apple and almond cake. The wine has a gentle fizz too.
Mionetto Prosecco Brut
£11 Budgens, Nisa
A simple and quaffable fizz with floral apple flavours.
Henry Fessy Beaujolais-Villages 2018
£12.50 Mr Wheeler
Aromas of sweet cherry with flavours of redcurrant and coffee.