Standard, yes, but……

A 72-pint firkin may contain only 68 saleable pints; the rest may be yeast sediment. The brewer will pay duty to on the smaller amount but will charge the pub for 72 pints.

The big brewers have always been scum….

39 thoughts on “Standard, yes, but……”

  1. I have been musing on the leftovers /and dregs problem. The problem being that they chuck it away. Old pub landlords apparently used to feed the customers’ and draughtsmen’s horses with it. I’ve recently wondered whether you could make some sort of house marmite with the stuff.

  2. I’m sure you can make a marmite from it. I think though that the problem would be quantity.

    I have absolutely no direct knowledge here but I imagine that you need pounds and pounds and pounds of yeast to make a pound of marmite. Thus the production from any pub’s worth of yeast would be small.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    It used to the allowance for beer lost when cleaning pumps to encourage landlords to keep good beer. My father used to pull water in to the pipée every night as well.

    A lot of that stopped when the brewery reduced ullage when hand pumps with automatic feedback were banned and they moved to oversized glasses. Their argument was that landlords didn’t lose so much when cleaning up at night.

  4. One of you knowledgeable chaps will know the answer to this: why does one almost never see coffered glass jars anymore?

  5. Assuming you mean what I think you do, glass jars with square bits – it would be because glass making has improved. We no longer need that thickness and shape to make glass that doesn’t break easily.

  6. Does m’learned friend refer to the so-called dimple glass?
    If so, the following may be relevant-they were last made by Ravenhead sometime in the late ’90s I believe, so dying numbers etc. They were less prone to breaking (probably not too good on an enthusiastic Saturday night out), easier to wash (tougher) and they kept the contents cooler for longer (no handling of the glass) but were buggers to store, (handle-less glasses easier to stack). If handled by the handle alone, they are far preferable for those fastidious chaps who prefer not to sample the secondhand delights of the bar staff’s hands, which may have been elsewhere.
    My local (Snooty Fox in Tetbury) still has a few and they always get one ready when I appear.

  7. Thanks, Mr Wilkinson. Those are all good reasons not to have those nasty handle less things, fit only for people who drink Australian lager.

  8. The English dimpled pint mug is a triumph of beautiful design – comparable to, say, the original coke bottle. Life is poorer for their absence.

    Obviously mankind gave up beautiful architecture years ago but are there any beautiful small items around? The most recent one I’ve seen (in a photo) was a stylish stetson sported by Prince Edward’s wife.

    Anyway, back to the topic: the dregs could usefully be fed to pigs but I assume that that would now be illegal.

  9. Last time I was in a pub was the night before the smoking ban came into effect. I had 20 fags in my mouth at the same time to savour the sweet, nicotinoidal taste of English freedom.

    Anyway, I always hated those Dad mugs. They occupied the same, dingy, brown corduroy part of my memory as grotty Austin Montego cars, Cannon and Ball Christmas specials and everything being closed on a rainy Sunday.

    Comically large Belgian beer glasses or GTFO.

  10. I recall that dimple mugs disappeared in certain pubs due to the extreme damage they could cause to a chap’s noggin when used as a weapon. The handles made them easy to wield without risk to the micreant’s own hand.

  11. Dimpled mugs disappeared for a time when, as John Wilkinson note upthread, Ravenhead glass closed down. For a while after they were made somewhere (France?) by Arcoroc. [I was able to buy some in an Italian supermarket ten years ago] You can find them on Amazon/Ebay etc now, some even with a Ravenhead logo, I assume made in China.

  12. “charge the pub for 72 pints”

    I don’t think they do really; they don’t charge the pub by the pint, they have a charge for each barrel size (one twice as large won’t be twice as expensive), and any decent publican will know how many saleable pints he’ll get out of it.

  13. Steve,

    “Last time I was in a pub was the night before the smoking ban came into effect. I had 20 fags in my mouth at the same time to savour the sweet, nicotinoidal taste of English freedom.”

    I use pubs as office space now. They’re smoke free, serve coffee and it’s not hard to get somewhere to sit.

  14. An 8oz pork chop may contain only 6oz of edible meat, the rest bone and fat.

    The butcher will charge you for 8oz.

    Butchers have always been scum too?

  15. I believe the legal definition of a pint of beer is 95% liquid, so don’t shed too many tears for the piblican.

  16. The final proof that we are a load of old pub bores.

    Not to mention the old pub boors.

    And a couple of old pub boers hang around here too, don’t they.

  17. How is this beer made? Most of the yeast stays behind in the fermenter. I sell kegs to pubs, they pay by the keg size. How much they manage to sell out of it is their business.

  18. @ John B
    My butcher weighs the chop and reads a price off the scale but I buy it if I think it’s worth the price (the last time I didn’t was when I felt really hungry and asked for the larger piece of steak when he had cut off a piece that he thought I should want). It’s different if the publican is in a tied house and doesn’t have the choice, which Tim seems to assume. There are a lot fewer tied houses than there were in my youth.

  19. Are they tied nowadays, john77?

    My impression, based on I’m not sure what, is that it’s more a franchise and, perhaps, in some cases either a JV or the business is actually owned by the brewery…

  20. M’Lud
    AFAIK there are still a few tied houses because small brewers were not obliged, as Bass, Allied, Whitbread and other majors were, to abolish the tie for a majority of their pub estate. I believe that Greene King has retained most its (much smaller) estate. Most of the majors were putting managers in to replace tenants even before they were forced to abolish the tie. I was never a brewery specialist so I could be wrong but I assume that there are still a few tied houses.

  21. @John Wilkinson

    Yes. Easy to stack & smaller footprint to store and quicker to collect & wash


    “everything being closed on a rainy Sunday” – sh1t times they were, luckily we had an airport with 4 hour free parking 10 min drive away. Twas a strange place to take one’s date.

    @Mr Lud

    I have a feeling a ‘beer/pub reform act’ ended tied pubs, hotels etc.

    We were never tied, we’d have preferred suppliers re-negotiated each year.

    One year it might be Grouse, Heineken, Britvic, Pepsi… next might be Bells, Tennants, Schweppes, Coke…

    We still sold other brands, but if customer asked for a whisky, lager etc they received the cheaper ‘house’ one

    Similar to supermarkets: price, promotions, merchandise, hardware, kick-backs…

  22. Steve,

    It’s actually a hotel bar in a small hotel, but the same applies. The owner knows me and he doesn’t mind as long as I buy a few coffees. It’s actually perfect for them. Makes use of the space when no-one else wants to use it.

    There’s a “co-work space” near me. Costs about £2-3/hr, which is more than coffee in a small hotel. The only thing it does have above the hotel is a “fun work environment” which is normally code for hideous enforced childish jollity rather than being able to snort coke off a stripper’s tits.

  23. Steve / BoM4

    Loads of people do this all the time, all over. It’s the simplest of win-wins. Pubs, hotels, etc gain (no quiet time revenue otherwise), as do those of us who are more flexible with our client arrangements, whether between meetings, need to be somewhere for the day, or whatever. Some locations absolutely thrive on this arrangement – changing times.


    “Last time I was in a pub was the night before the smoking ban came into effect.”


  24. Pcar, aren’t you describing free houses?

    john77, yes, I think I’ve seen some boozers which, again for reasons I’d struggle to articulate, seemed tied. Otherwise, I suspect we agree that the former tied model has evolved. Into what, see above. I speculate.

    I wonder how this reads to Tom’s outre mer readers.

    Tied houses?

    Free houses?

    What nonsense is this?

  25. The larger estates were sold to Punch/Enterprise. Smaller breweries, typically regional, like Harvey’s, Shepherd Neame & Greene King, weren’t as affected by the act, so were able to retain the tied pubs. The PubCurmudgeon fella is mainly up north, so he’ll mention Sam Smiths (I think) and others.

    It seems that for the “flagship” locations, Shep’s are mainly putting in managers, but it’s not entirely clear. Greene King currently appear to be experimenting with new build pubs close to or within out of town retail parks, which are food-led and family friendly.

    For Punch/Enterprise, the PubCos, the tie still exists, but obviously not to a specific brewer – so tenants still have a wet rent plus the building rent. As far as I know, the wet rent prices are not good – there’s a premium of £20+ per barrel over the wholesalers.

    The act (can’t remember the date – mid-90s?) also created the guest beer requirement for remaining estates tied to the brewery. Which is a bit odd these days, as our local GK pub, only appears to have a single GK beer on, and seems to deal with a wholesaler. Dunno what’s going on there.

    At the moment, it looks like there are smaller chains of 5-10 pubs being created as the brewers and PubCos adjust their estates. These are usually managed. We also seem to be getting a hybrid; people running multiple pubs across brewers and PubCos as tenants, but placing managers into each pub.

  26. I know something about this. Usually fo a smaller brewer it is easier to pay duty on 72 pints, on 68 pints various records need to be showed to hmrc and requires lots of extra work.

  27. @BoM4

    “Resident” customers are useful to proprietor too – makes venue look more appealing

    Do you vacate at lunch-time if almost full?

    @Mr Lud

    A Free House has no-ties, we had ties to ‘house’ brands – some included below base rate re-furb loans

    I guess somewhat similar to today’s Symbol group “Franchises”, but without facia and obtrusive branding ie customer would not perceive any ties


    Good explanation of complex trade. We sold ‘house’ plus Theakston’s, Wood barrel real ale and anything else a supplier enticed us to sell. If it sold we both profited, if it didn’t their loss (drink, food, snacks, extras)

    Symbiotic relationship like Tesco & XpressCentres?

  28. It would be more than 72 ‘Merican pints. Were American measures invented to cover British skimming?

    Firkin. Had to look it up. I expect this to be the first/last time I see the word.

  29. @Gamecock

    American measures invented to deceive Americans by thinking tiny pints & gallons were the real thing. Has backfired as mpg became more important

    Firkin sounds like a cuddly pet

  30. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Bongo: the B12 in Marmite is added. Yeast is a fungus, and fungi don’t make it. B12 is derived from bacterial synthesis (also archaea but that’s a bit abstruse).There are plant and algal sources (the ‘seaweed’ in sushi isn’t one, despite claims to the contrary, but laver is, apparently) but you usually have to eat silly amounts of them. The B12 is still synthesised symbiotically from bacteria and archaea within the plants or algae.

  31. @BiCR


    Some sources suggest that Vitamin B12 is not naturally found in yeast extract, and is only present because it is added to Marmite during manufacture. Others indicate that “Brewer’s and nutritional yeast extracts are also a rich source of B vitamins, particularly B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6, B-12, and folic acid

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