To any overseas visitors coming to these shores for the Olympic Games the organisers of the event would have you believe that the main beers produced in the UK are Heineken and its sister brands John Smith’s and Strongbow.
London + Olympics = Heineken!
They’d also have you believe that we don’t have anything more exciting than these brands. It’s simply untrue of course because the craft brewing revolution, combined with some great innovation from the country’s more progressive larger brewers, has filled the country with some great beers.
But since Heineken are the sole sponsors of beer at the Olympics, all the events venues and advertising around the competition will be in the hands of the Dutch brewer.
It’s not so much that the company is not British it is just that the three products it will be promoting during the Games are not reflective of the high quality of beers and ciders now being produced in the UK.
The heavy-handed approach taken by the London Olympics’ Organising Committee to ensure that its beloved sponsors’ rights are protected means the capital’s pubs are also strictly prohibited from any form of promotion of their Olympic-related activities.
Thankfully research has shown that 60% of visitors to the UK state that they will visit a pub during their stay in the country. This means that whatever dodgy line the sponsors and the organisers attempt to spin, and try to get people to consume, the majority of visitors coming over for the Olympics will be taking a trip to a London pub.
London is now a true world city of beer.
Hopefully in these dens of equality they will encounter what we really have to offer in the UK by enjoying some finely crafted British beers in some of the country’s best pubs. To help promote the capital’s pubs and the various beers available during the period of the Games CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) has launched a website London City of Beer
that lists tastings, brewery tours, and various other activities that have nothing to do with the Olympics.
But for those tourists – and natives – who want a break from the Games and the promotion by Heineken of the official beers of the Games it will highlight many Gold medal-winning breweries and their beers. I guess I’m not even allowed to say that?