Let's hand Boris keys to the off-trade

14 November, 2008

What's the world's priciest cider? The Mayor of London thinks he's found it - and indeed made it.

Writing an entertaining polemic for the Daily Telegraph, urging Britons to keep on spending despite all the poppycock

about this recession thingy, Boris Johnson warned against the evils of self-sufficiency. "Some people genuinely seem to think we would be better off staying at home and growing our own cabbage and baking our own bread," he said.

"This is insanity. I have just brewed 24 bottles of home-made cider, and by the time I had bought the bottles and the stoppers and the yeast and the press and the alembics, it was the most expensive cider ever made.

"There is a system called capitalism, by which goods and services are allocated by markets, and under capitalism I can go to the off-licence and buy five times the cider, of vastly superior quality, for a

20th of the price, and I can use the time and money saved to buy other things and stimulate the economy in other ways."

The S wines stole our name

OLN has long been campaigning for a change in the law so that store names like

The Off-licence or

The Wine Shop are officially banned. But we are pleased to see the art of the clever wine shop name is not dead. OLN has been updating its database of independent drinks retailers and offers a round of applause to

S Wines (Holland Park, London),

the Vin Man (Torrington, Devon) and finally the very lovely Cloud Wine - which can be found in the gentle mists of High Peak, Derbyshire.

That's Asda research

Oh, there are some cynics in the drinks trade. A reader has sent in an unofficial snapshot of some POS in the Asda beer aisle, featuring helpful advice such as South American beers go with Mexican food, Asian beers work nicely with Indian or Chinese dishes, and a blonde beer will taste "light and crisp". Our correspondent guffaws: "It's the result of minutes of research."

Mozzie man creates a buzz

In our previous issue we brought you the story of the Camden off-licence owner who was forced to remove his Mosquito device after being visited by the borough's Youth Council.

Now the inventor of the high-pitched teenager-remover has weighed into the debate. "Not only is [the shopkeeper] being intimidated by large groups of teenagers, but he's also being bullied by a youth group," he said, before urging the young busybodies to "grow up".

"This man may mock and ridicule us, but this alarm is a spanner in the works for everyone looking to improve community relations," responded Youth Council leader Axel Landin. "If he is such a genius he can design an alarm that only young criminals can hear." Someone's been watching too much Ben 10.

Board-erring on possessive

Photographer Clive Andrews has spotted a n off-licence A-board which he has immortalised on his Flickr web page (flickr.com/photos/cliveandrews/405517927/).

The board, found in Brighton, is a rare example of Foster's being spelled, correctly, with its apostrophe. Unfortunately the board's

eight other apostrophes are all wrong, and one is missing altogether. Somebody should inform the manager that there's a big, big difference between "we're open" and "were open".

"I'm very proud of this find," beams Clive. "A highlight in my career as a pedant."

Stripping - a bare essential

Off-licences have been associated with most social evils over the past few years, so it should really come as no surprise that the industry has been blamed for an application for a new strip club in New Cross Gate.

According to the South London Press, the White Hart Hotel is applying for a licence amendment which would allow nude entertainment. The pub will go out of business without this new attraction, according to the licensee, because it's been hit by "the credit crunch, smoking ban and cheap off-licence alcohol sales".

"A lot of people around here do want to look at women taking their clothes off," explains Kenneth Linwood. Let's hope for his sake that rumours about a fully-nude off-licence opening in the area are unfounded.


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