Beer matters…possible definitions:
- A group of people who collect beer mats.
- Matters to do with the beer-related issues.
- An answer to the question “Does beer matter?”.
Ignoring No. 1 (for they are probably people who are quite boring and deserve to be ignored), and as No. 2 can’t really concern us, ‘cos we aren’t in a position to do ‘owt about it, that leaves us with definition No. 3.
So, if we take definition No 3, then the answer most definitely seems to be a resounding “YES”, at least as far as the residents of the Social & Entertainment Capital of the North-East Derbyshire (SECNED) region, i.e. Dronfield, are concerned. And here is the proof:
Since 1999, total beer/lager/alcohol consumption volumes in the UK’s pubs, bars and clubs has dropped by some 50%. The average pub goer will no doubt have his/her theory as to the reasons behind this, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that supermarket sales (drinking at home), high pub/club prices, the smoking ban, recessions, and such have all taken their toll. Furthermore, since 1999 over 25% of the nation’s pubs have closed their doors forever, having turned into homes, restaurants, Tesco Expresses, or, just been left empty and boarded-up.
Fact: A few years ago, Eckington had a whopping 11 pubs. It now has 3….and they’re struggling.
BUT…..Dronfield (SECNED) seems to defy this national trend. Yes, granted The Ash Tree is now an Indian, so is The Greyhound, and for those mature drinkers, The Rock is a Chinese, but that still leaves Dronny with 18 pubs, 4 social clubs, and a golf club bar. PLUS only a short walk away in Holmesfield there are another 4 pubs. AND…just outside Dronny, there are another 2 in Apperknowle, and as for Unstone….well lets not go there. No, seriously, its nowt to do with pubs. Just don’t go there.
By rights, and according to the UK stats, 7 or 8 or more of these venues should have fallen by the way-side by now. Yet, the couple of pubs that do sometimes shut down always re-open a matter of weeks later, some even better and busier than before. Are the residents of Dronfield and the surrounding district all alcoholics? Is there another town in the UK with approximately 20,000 people that has a humongous 23 drinking venues?
Drinkers of Dronfield, I salute you. In the face of adversity, you have stood proud and strong (at the bar, clearly), sat steadfastly on your sturdy pub stool, or championed the cause from your comfy pub chair. You stand out like a beacon of light in a long dark tunnel that is the nation’s pub and beer trade. This week, at your next venture out to your chosen venue, raise a glass to yourself, smile and know that you are ‘doing your bit’ for our national heritage and history.