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A Basic Human Right: Cheap Beer!

It’s been said that offering private healthcare in a country with a free public system of health erodes the value of fairness for all. But what about beer? With the rise of premium home-delivered beer baskets, imported speciality beers and high-end draught commanding a premium in the pubs, is the basic Human right of a cheap beer under threat?

Let’s examine the evils of the beer barons one by one and try to find a global solution that will help all of us to defend our rights to a swift pint.

Cover charges

Designed to keep out undesirables from trendy bars, the evil of cover charges drives honest, hard-working cheap beer drinkers away from city centres, forcing them towards suburban watering holes. Here, they are preyed upon by violent men and cheap women, until they seldom wake up sober, uninjured or aware of their exact location or sleeping partner.

Naturally, the UNOB wishes to preserve town centre public houses, homes from home where this poor, abused individual can find his own silent corner to while away the hours with cheap beer pints and a newspaper, unafraid of unsolicited offers to fight or dance beneath an unfamiliar duvet.

Premium beers

Beer should not be a premium product. Beer is a basic human right. But increasingly, in pubs worried to introduce cover charges, premium beer is doing the evil work in an underhand way that a cover charge will do in an upfront, beer-drinkers-don’t-like-bouncers way.

White beer is perhaps the worst of these premium brews. Does anyone apart from me believe that a beer which is white has something intrinsically incorrect with it? Apart from the price, of course, which is double the standard going rate for a pint of cheap beer.

Smart bar owners realise that these premium beers cost no more to buy, store or serve. They go where the profits are highest, and by degrees, offer more and more premium beer and less cheap beer options. Eventually, the two-pitchers-for-a-penny deals disappear and cheap beer fans have to follow the same sad route back to fight-or-frolic sawdust saloons.

Imported beers

Some people believe that, unless a beer comes from thousands of miles away, it’s not worth drinking. This flies in the face of the recent trend towards microbrew pubs, which produce their own beer in-house, often allowing them to sell them more cheaply than external beers (you notice I said “often”: some greedy microbrewers still charge top prices for their in-house grog).

Yes, your imported beer might be a small better than my pint of cheap stuff. Yes, it is undeniably more exotic. Its very name, usually an anagram of some Bible quotation or a play on words we don’t know – because it’s a play on German, Belgian or Australian culture – sets it apart, making an us and them beer counter-culture.

As you lie in the gutter, counting your teeth with your tongue and wondering who the heck this Wendy girl is that’s mopping blood from your brow with her panties, you can chalk up another crime against the evil bar owners denying you your basic human right.

Join the crusade

Bring the power of the global village to bear on these cruel overlords of the hoppy liquor. Highlight the real pubs which exist in your home town, those hostelries which value the concept of cheap beer and a decent evening out. Places where you are as likely to add a notch to your belt as to your bedpost. Places where a man who questions “Do you want to go outside?” is concerned about your health, not concerned with ruining it.

Join our eZine, Drink Up. Send us your reviews of the right kind of place to drink at Last Orders. We can all make a difference. Apathy, and trendy bar owners, are the greatest enemies.

Ashley Cotter-Cairns is Secretary-General of united-nations-of-beer.com/index.html The United Nations of Beer. Become a recognised beer celebrity by volunteering as a UNOB Beer Delegate for your country!

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