Monday, 29 June 2015

Bizarre Times at Spoons


Remember last year? I'm sure you do, as I'm certain you don't drink as much as I do, and I can remember it easily. JD Wetherspoon going craft? Remember that? Yes, you do.

If I'm being honest, today I was poised to write a post saying Spoons Craft selection has been a failure, and they're ditching it now they've disrupted the market with cheap Vedett and Adnams Crystal Rye IPA.  But I'm no longer that sure about it.

The whole thing started about six weeks ago, when a sign proclaiming BrewDog This.Is.Lager was reduced to £1.99 on a "Manager's Special". " Oh," spake the Crafties "this means Timbo Martin's ditching it due to poor sales". And that did seem plausible, as, if like my local Spoons, it had seven other lagers on already.

Then last week, several other lines were displayed on the " Manager's Special" board at £1.49 each, including the Crystal Rye, Vedett cans, Rogue IPA and Sagres Lager. So, conclusive evidence that the concept of "Craft" has been a failure at Spoons.

Meanwhile, the Devils Backbone maintained its usual price at £2.99/£3.10, depending on your location.

So, to get to the point (finally), I went into my local Wetherspoons today expecting to at least pick up some cheap stuff before it vanishes forever. But what had vanished in reality was the "Manager's Special" board. Replaced instead with a picture framed beer menu displaying the same prices as before this started.  Death of Craft? Hmm.

What I think has happened is Spoons had ordered a large amount of stock that they'd ordered when the whole "Craftwork" thing started last year. After all, the more you order, the cheaper per unit it will be. But eventually, some will reach it's "Best Before" date. And 9 months is about right for bottled beer.
Still on sale at Spoons, contrary to predictions

So, as they shift the old stock and get the new stock into the fridge, the price can be put back up, per pub depending on how much they had to offload.  You may be doubtful about this, but remember the Sixpoint cans last year. Exactly the same happened with those last year. And have they gone?

Occasionally in business such things happened. Sometimes too much will be ordered and will have to be cleared before it becomes a dead stock problem. I had to do this with a load of bottles of Camden Hells last week. It doesn't mean the concept of Craft Beer is a failure in the location, just that supply has exceeded sales.

I'm welcome to be proved wrong on this, and no doubt some people will get back to me saying that their local Wetherspoons now only sells Fosters, Ruddles and Doom Bar etc. But I doubt there will be many


  1. Not sure about TiL, as I definitely overhead a member of bar staff saying it was being dropped. Last week it was £1.49 as a Manager's Special in Haverfordwest.

  2. There was an interesting comment from a spoons manager on a facebook group. Said their keg lines were being changed around and he might be able to choose his own for a few of the lines. I certainly don't think they're giving up on the idea.