“Ruddles County used to be a world class beer,”
says Peter Coppard, of CAMRA, “since Greene King destroyed
it I wouldn’t cross the road to buy a pint.” “Greene
King are rapidly becoming a national concern,” he continues,
“which should be of national concern.” Harveys
may be losing sales through Greene King’s aggressive
marketing tactics, but Coppard stresses that the company is
unlikely to be an immediate takeover target. “But a
lot of other breweries are a bit shaky,” he says, suggesting
a further increase in the Greene Kingdom in the near future.
“This is of great concern to CAMRA. All these mergers
constitute a reduction in choice for the consumer and a reduction
of jobs in the beer industry.”
So is this something we should be getting het up about at
a time when our country is involved in two wars and the global
economy is starving half the third world to death? Well, yes,
actually. Harveys in the Lewes Arms (and the pub has always
kept an excellent pint) is one of Lewes’ institutions.
And if Greene King stop serving it there, the nature of the
pub is likely to change for good. And thus the nature of the
town. “You can’t really blame the company for
not wanting to serve one of its rival’s beers, to the
detriment of its own,” says Coppard. “But the
sad thing is that we’ve seen other pubs in Lewes suffer
from Harveys being taken away, and it’s a shame for
the Lewes Arms, which is likely to see the same thing happen.
Harveys drinkers are likely to vote with their feet, and move
to other pubs, where they do serve the local bitter. I suggest
that Harveys and Greene King do a pub swap, so that the locals
can stay in the place which is so suited to their needs.”
Sounds like a good idea to us. But which pub?