I had a pleasant surprise on going into my local Majestic. Large quantities of locally brewed
beer were piled high at the back of the store behind the wine. They had beers from Tring (Side Pocket and Death or Glory), Loddon (Ferryman’s Gold and Hullaballoo), Rebellion (Blonde plus another one I’ve forgotten) plus others from within fairly local distances like Hook Norton. There are other unusual small breweries represented, such as Bath Ales, St. Peters and Hop Back. Bigger brewers’ beers are also there — Fuller’s London Porter was a nice discovery (if you forgive the pun).
I was talking to the manager there and he was saying that Majestic don’t want to compete with the 20 cans of Wifebeater for £10 at the supermarkets (loss leaders that our government seems so reluctant to curb) and so they really want to push the local beer angle — and that this is what their customers say they want. He’s hoping to get beers from Chiltern soon (that’s really LocAle to them) and Vale as well. He’s also wondering about stocking minipins and similar.
There’s a photo of a lovely selection of ale, not all local but I’m one of the people who still drinks local beers in the pub. There’s the exquisite Summer Lightning (still the hoppiest and best golden ale), Loddon Ferryman’s Gold, which is almost as good as Summer Lightning and a little less hoppy, Fuller’s London Porter, which is completely different (I don’t know it so well in bottle but it’s great on the occasions you can get it on draught) and a selection of Bath Ales beers, which is a consistent micro. I’d like to see Rebellion and Tring follow suit and do a selection pack like that as I like their beers but would find it difficult to opt for 12 of one (as you have to at Majestic) — particularly if it’s something like Tring Death or Glory (who says real ale brewers go for macho names?).