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22 February, 2008

Local beer may be trendy but it isn't necessarily profitable

With reference to your story in OLN Feb 8 (page 3), I would be happy to stock local brews in our shop but whenever I research this (last time was 2006 in the Leek and Macclesfield area) the prices are ridiculous.

Prices for a case of 12x 50 cl bottles range from £16-£19 plus VAT, whereas I can pick up Ruddles, Old†Speckled Hen, Holt's etc for £11.99 a case at most. Retailing a 50 cl bottle at £1.50 (with occasional

four-for-£5 offers) is acceptable when the public are used to paying £2.50 a pint in the pub

- obviously customers in the south may be paying much more.

Customers may be willing to pay a little more for premium name beers, but over £2 a bottle for a beer whose only claim is that it is local

I†don't think so. The only microbrewery whose prices were reasonable was White Star of Southampton, but half the stock went down the drain as it was over-yeasty and frothed worse than any home brew I made when stationed in the Sahara.

Steve Chudy

Cloud Wine

What a waste

Today is promotion change

day in Threshers with price changes in abundance. To obtain these changes we get printouts from the till, usually running into 40 pages.

Five pages were used up

with changes to†the price of bottled beers from £1.85 to £1.75 . This was no problem until, several pages later, there were another five pages amending the price of bottled beers from £1.75 to £1.85.

So that was 10 pages for no reason at all - multiply that by the 1,900 branches

of Threshers and you see why the Brazilian rain forests are disappearing.

Who was the moron who set this up and does no other moron check their input

Threshers worker

(Name and address supplied)

Independents will take duty flak

With reference to your story on duty rises (Feb 8), I suspect that yet again we will see supermarkets play hard ball with suppliers and keep prices down, while independent retailers

such as myself are forced to push them up.

The result is lots of moaning customers asking why Tesco has this on offer at £1 cheaper, or didn't I know Asda was doing a better deal on a lager brand.

It's all very well saying retailers should branch out and offer a point of difference, but we're a small corner store, not an upmarket wine merchant, and I'm not interested in selling lots of wines at more than £10, or holding tastings. That just wouldn't appeal to my customers.

And the Competition Commission's rather weak statements and recommendations on supermarkets don't really help. Suppliers are doing their bit to develop products just for

independent and convenience shops. But we also need more support from the government .

Sue Hoxton, Wirral

Boucheron bites back

Your reader George Watkinson (OLN, Feb†8, p10) has an even more jaundiced view of wine writers than I have - and I am one .

However, if my fortunate colleagues with weekly columns in the Saturday and Sunday national newspapers wrote openly and critically about the appalling wines that regularly top the supermarkets' and high street multiples' best sellers

lists,

they would soon achieve the same reputation and influence in our market that Jeremy Clarkson enjoys in the motor trade.

And at long last the nation's wine drinkers would be well-served by the press that should be serving them.

But

perhaps it is the publishers who put the brakes on any open criticism, since they would be loathe

to loose the valuable double-page colour spreads of advertisements that such lack lustre brands frequently purchase to push their sub-standard produce.

Philippe Boucheron

n Editor's note: OLN's journalists, columnists and readers can and do express their views freely - subject to libel laws of course - regardless of advertising content within the newspaper. Our editorial is critical and questioning but always strives for balance. And our letters page is an ideal forum for lively exchanges of opinion - so keep sending those letters and e-mails.




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