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When it comes to beer is honesty the best policy?


As you know we are passionate about beer. We know what we like and what we don’t like (so far) and we’re also willing to try new things at least once. I tried 250 different beers last year and found some new favourites, a few surprises and one or too howling beverages. There are a few beers in our range that I won’t drink because they are not to my taste. However, everyone is different but when I’m asked my opinion, I tend to give it. Remember, it’s just my opinion so it doesn’t matter if you agree or not. I might not agree with your choice in beer and that doesn’t make either of us a bad person; it just means that you have poor choice in beer (in my opinion).

I did have photographs on my phone of all the beers that I had tried which set me on a blurry but fun path which saw me come dangerously close to alcoholism (that’s a joke before any rumours start). However, my phone got smashed on a night out and I lost all of the pictures so in defiance of defeat I got a new phone and have started again. Of course, the phone was broken on a night out which involved alcohol and a casual insult which led to the breakage so it’s all my own fault. Sometimes it’s better to tell a wee white lie when asked your opinion.

My honesty has gotten me in to a few awkward situations when talking about beer and while on duty in Bar Varia.

The first notable “incident” involved a brand rep from a company with several great beers in their portfolio, which I do really like. However, at our initial meeting a few years ago a young gentleman representing a specific brand joined us in our beer discussion and I have been quoted as saying to him “I’m not stocking your beer, it’s sh*te” and that’s pretty much Verbatim. That was a couple of years ago and we have a new rep who told me that this “incident” was included in his handover/induction. The ironic thing is that we now stock the brand that I didn’t want as part of an agreement to stock others in their range; sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth.

A guest attending one of our beer tasting sessions got talking to me while they waited for a few more guests to arrive. I used a well-known brand that could be considered as a market leader as an example of a beer that I wouldn’t be seen dead drinking (Not verbatim) and it turns out that it was this particular gentleman’s tipple of choice. Thankfully, someone else was hosting this session and I made a hasty retreat before I ruined their night completely.

Customers often ask for “a good beer like…..” and the response is usually something along the lines of “we don’t stock that, we stock good beer” has varying responses from said customer. Disclaimer (in case the MD reads this): I haven’t actually upset anyone, yet!!

A more recent meeting with a new rep for another brand didn’t start off very well either. I was asked about a beer that I had recently tried which I thought tasted like a watered down IPA so that’s what I said. The reply was “Oh, that’s one of ours and I quite like it”. I also went on to dig a deeper hole by telling them that their premium brand (and reason for the meeting) wasn’t my first choice but had a chance of a spot in my top five of that particular style of beer. I did it again but the negotiations are still ongoing, so I couldn’t have messed up too badly.

At a recent awards night I was offered a complimentary drink from an event sponsor and I replied “No thanks, can you just bring me an empty glass to p*ss in and I’ll drink that?” again that’s pretty much verbatim. It didn’t help that I was chatting with someone (loosely) associated with the brand at the time but it was all taken in jest which was my intention.

It just so happens that it was at this very same awards night that my phone got smashed and all because I replied to a question with what I actually thought. I was asked by a colleague if I liked her handbag. I didn’t like it so I said “no, it’s disgusting”. I was then hit by the handbag which knocked my phone out of my hand and on to the pavement. Karma? Or just a funny story?

So, is honesty the best policy? Well, yes but I’ve learned to a little more diplomatic and sugar coat my words (sometimes).