Monday, 23 September 2013

Whatpub.com for 96% of all real ale pubs

UK's first website devoted to beer goggles
A new pub finder website, Whatpub.com has been launched today by CAMRA. This is a remarkable achievement by the tens of thousands of volunteers who have researched to provide the necessary information. I think it's an excellent idea. There are other pub websites, such as Beer In The Evening, but this is the most comprehensive national website to find where you can get real ale: it lists 47,000 pubs, 36,000 of which serve real ale - more than 96% of all real ale pubs in the country. I have heard the odd comment like "Not before time!", but that's a churlish attitude, seeing that all of the information has been provided by unpaid volunteers working in their own time and at their own expense. As is the case with the Good Beer Guide (GBG), in fact.

I have only one niggle. As reported in my post yesterday, and at greater length here in July, the CAMRA conference voted several years ago to ban Branches publishing complete lists of their local GBG pubs in case that damaged sales of the guide. I said in July that "The argument (propounded by Roger Protz, GBG editor) is stupid because people don't buy the guide just to find out the pubs in their local area, which they probably already know about - you buy it to see what pubs there are in other areas." This website doesn't just allow you to find the real ale pubs where you live, but tells you the real ale pubs across the whole country. Why would anyone now want to buy a GBG?

The reply would be that the GBG tells you the best pubs, whereas  Whatpub.com lists all real ale outlets, but I'm not convinced that would matter to a lot of drinkers. In fact, I'd prefer to be told a greater range of pubs than the GBG lists. I'm not criticising the website here at all; I'm pointing out that it's quite likely that this free website will affect GBG sales, whereas even now if our local CAMRA branch published the list that I posted on this blog yesterday, they would be breaking an official policy intended to protect GBG sales - although it really does nothing of the sort.

P.S. I've just noticed this is my 900th post.

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