Those that remember the 1970’s will remember the state that the government and big business left the beer industry in. The years that followed the Second World War which had seen rationing of food and where the UK borrowed money from America which was finally paid back along with the interest on 31 December 2006. Britain made a final payment of about $83m (£45.5m) thereby discharging the last of its war loans from the US and clearing the debt of £21 billion. The demise of the British pub and particularly the beer drunk in them sank to a very low level. Kid’s of the 70’s will remember family gatherings for birthdays and Christmas where dad would pierce a ‘Party Four’ or for larger gatherings a ‘Party Seven’ and wonder at the fountain of fizzy piss that would spray and stain the artex ceiling for years to come. Watneys were one of the worst, buying up small breweries that were struggling through difficult times and replacing with the keg rubbish that they liked to call beer. Some still defend Watneys but they were part of a huge sea of blandness that was beer in the 70’s. There is now a variety of ales & beers around the country and they way ale is served varies equally. Generally in the South, ale is served ‘flat’ and in the North with a thick creamy ‘head’ although there are exceptions in both, maybe partly due to landlords moving around the country and maybe partly due to recommendations from breweries on how best to serve ‘their’ beer. Each to their own, we say. Some people prefer half a pint of froth at the top of their glass and some people even like a fizzy pint of Carling Lager. We suspect these are people who’s fathers we brought up on Red Barrel and their taste buds have been neutralised over the years. Despite this, some of the Fat Badgers gained a taste of ‘Real Ale’ and decided to join the growing numbers of people who wanted change. Our History tells a story of where we came from. What did happen in 1971 however, a group of like minded gentlemen who remembered what beer could be like or who had experienced a pint in one of the last remaining four Home Brew pubs, set up a little campaign to get back to the quality pubs and ales of years gone by - The Campaign for Real Ale was born and Camra have gone from strength to strength. We would urge people to join and help the cause as we’ve seen how crap it was without them! At the time, brewing was dominated by the ‘big six’ breweries: Allied Breweries, Bass Charrington, Courage Imperial, Scottish and Newcastle, Watneys and Whitbread.
Or ‘The Barrel Years’ - Watneys Red Barrel to be precise. Everything that was wrong about pubs and beers in the 1970’s
The Barren Years