Published on February 27, 2013 | by Rory Moore


Fancy a pint? Try making your own!

Byron Knight(left) and Logan Plant (right) the men in charge of Beaverton Brewery.

Rises in drink prices mean that more and more people are making their own alcohol. [Image: Tamara Craiu]

It is no secret that going out drinking in London is expensive, and to top it off pub culture is completely shot with the price of a drink increasing to almost double the amount in recent years.

All things considered, it comes as no surprise that 2012 saw the closure of 18 pubs across the UK each and every week. But what are people doing instead?

The cost of drinking in pubs has risen ahead of inflation in recent years and duty on beer has risen by 46 per cent in the last three years alone.

The bottom line is that most consumers are simply unwilling to pay three or four times the price that they would pay down their local off licence or supermarket for the same drink.

Which makes sense really as we are forever told that times have rarely been so hard.

We have seen businesses, which once stood proud on our high streets, now going into administration one–by–one because of their failure to adapt to the swiftly changing trends of the modern technology market.

In reality, if someone can get something cheaper elsewhere or even free – chances are they are going to do it.

The same really applies to pubs – anyone that pays £4 for a pint of Carlsberg is a mug.

The changing face of pubs

Pubs have undergone a vast array of changes in recent years and whether this is something that is exclusive to London or whether it is the same across the nation, the answer remains unclear.

I can safely say that within the M25, if a pub near you has recently closed for refurbishment – chances are that when it reopens its doors to the unsuspecting public – it will have been given a lick of Farrow & Ball paint and food prices are bound to have doubled.

These kinds of pubs exist only in their own right; they’re the kind of pubs that seem to have a fetish for anything considered ‘local’ or ‘seasonal’, both of which simply act as a precursor with very little meaning, allowing them to charge in excess of a fiver for a scotch egg or mushroom pâté on toast.

These “new–generation” pubs are ruining the classic public house experience, with their bunting and kitsch retro styling.

Worst of all, with these pubs – aside from the mediocre food, the huge mark up on drinks and the strong resemblance to someone’s living room – is their family friendly policy.

“It’s definitely something I’d be interested in giving a go, I mean its hard to find pubs that serve good beer as it is” – Adam Kemp

There is nothing worse than walking into a pub on a Saturday afternoon and being met by the sight of the local buggy brigade spooning mush into their new-born’s mouths while their other kids run around treating your once favourite watering hole like a crèche.

All of these factors certainly play an undisputable role into why people are giving these new ‘revamped’ pubs a wide berth in favour of any other possible drinking spot – even if that means piling into yours or a friend’s overcrowded living room or kitchen.

Raise in popularity

Another reason that can be attributed to the ever-dwindling numbers passing through the doors of pubs across the UK is the rise in popularity of the home brew.

It makes sense when you think about it – most people go to the pub to drink beer and beer is synonymous with pubs.

Whether it be a pint, a half, or a bottle of ale, lager and stout pubs have been the place to go to buy beer for centuries.

In the past, the most commonly pitched argument for drinking at the pub has been one of taste – choosing to go to the pub to drink because it tastes better than what is on the shelf at your local off licence or supermarket.

In short, no one likes paying over the odds for something – especially if they know they can do it themselves for less.

The cost of your average home brew pint coming in at four or five times cheaper than that of your local pub means that brewing your own alcohol is becoming a much more realistic option for many.

The chances are when you left home for university burnt toast and instant noodles became the cornerstone of your diet, then you learnt how to cook and things started to feel a whole lot better.

Make your own

Think of brewing your own beer in the same way; at first it will be basic but over time you will find out how to make your favourites.

With basic kits starting from around £25, brewing your own beer at home is far from a pipedream – it is a feasible option. Your average kit around this price will produce 32 pints at 80p per pint, which is cheap by anyone’s standards.

Going down your local off licence and picking up a hand full of £1 Polish cans then starts to look like a slightly less appealing option, the only downside is the three-week brewing time – not for the impatient.

Adam Kemp, 20, second year Journalism student at LCC spoke about how he felt about the rise of home brew.

Your average kit around this price will produce 32 pints at 80p per pint, which is cheap by anyone’s standards.

“It’s definitely something I’d be interested in giving a go, I mean its hard to find pubs that serve good beer as it is, but those that do seem to be the ones which are doing alright.” Kemp says, “My uncle is really into the home brew thing, he has been doing it for years. He’s done everything – ales, stouts; even Perry’s.

“He is quite big on his American style pale ales actually; he was saying recently he has cracked a recipe with tastes pretty much exactly like Sierra Nevada. He doesn’t even drink that much, he ends up giving most of it away to his friends and my dad, which is good when I go home”,

Boom in home brewing

As with everything, there is a wealth of information teaching you how to brew your own beer step-by-step on the Internet, something that has definitely helped form and further the current boom in home brewing across the UK.

This is coupled with the success of small breweries which themselves started off brewing their own at home because they were not happy with what was on offer. A few notable examples being Edinburgh based BrewDog and two London based microbreweries, The Kernel and Beavertown Brewery.

With the pricing and the middle class homogenisation of pubs across the capital and beyond seemingly knowing no bounds, maybe it is time we all gave home brew a try. What’s the worst that could happen?

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