There’s a lovely cartoon I saw the other day where a fella is stood in his new commercial premises, explaining his business plan to his friend. He says: “I’m going to run it as a gym for the first two weeks of the year, then turn it into a bar.”
Because that’s just how new year resolutions pan out, isn’t it? Everyone’s suddenly taken the pledge after two weeks of over-indulgence and deciding to give alcohol and the pub a miss. This might seem a great idea, but here’s the thing: the hospitality industry needs our support all year round.
Hence, Tryanuary (or #tryanuary for you social media types). The team behind the Tryanuary campaign want to see people in pubs and bars and supporting these local businesses and community venues throughout January. But not by just having a pint of the usual.
As I’ve written this week in my Western Morning News column, Britain has some very talented brewers who do so much more than just a pint of the usual. They can turn their hand to any style out there, so if lager’s your usual tipple, say, why not try a zesty session pale ale? Love a hoppy IPA? Why not take the first step to a love affair with sour beers (they’re going to be big this year).
Tryanuary began in 2015 and covers going to new pubs and bars, bottled beer shops and beer cafés, sampling from different breweries, going on a brewery tour, cooking with beer, pairing beer with food, and so on.
Another central theme is supporting local independent businesses. Tom, who runs #craftbeerhour, has energised 80 people the length and breadth of the British Isles to volunteer, spread the word and promote events large and small to entice drinkers in a traditionally barren month of the year.
For example, in my neck of the woods, Vessel Beer Shop, in Plymouth, is re-opening on Saturday after a brief new year break with a meet the brewer and tasting with Stannary Brewing Co, of Tavistock. It has other sessions lined up for later in the month (check the website).
As Roger Protz puts it succinctly in a Tweet today, if you’re looking for exercise, walk to the pub! Perhaps get off the bus a stop earlier. Have less quantity of beer, but try more new brews, in halves or thirds. And do your best to make dry January #tryanuary!