Beer Paddle

Drink Me

Beer paddles or beer bats, whatever you want to call them, I want one. Currently being offered at Ribble Valley Inns, they hold three third-pint glasses, and are aimed at encouraging drinkers to try different lagers/ales. And they don’t cost any more than just buying a full pint – what’s not to like about that?!

The brilliance of beer bats is that they have a wide remit of appeal as they not only catch the attention of real ale lovers, but they also provide a better strategy for encouraging women into the world of beer: stop putting it in pink bottles, just miniaturise it, it’s less crass and patronising. They also seem more accessible than the wine flights they mimic, which are often more expensive and appear to be focused on drinkers who are already knowledgeable about grapes etc.

OK so I like the idea of beer bats, but will everyone? Well, a lot of people should, yes: according to Mintel’s Alcohol in Restaurants – UK, April 2011 45% of those who have drunk alcohol in a restaurant in the last three months would be interested in seeing new/interesting drinks on the menu in the future. Beer bats seem well-placed to appeal to this demand as well as addressing the fact that consumers are still looking for ‘safe bets’ when it comes to their purchasing habits, because if they don’t like one, they’ll probably like another, and either way they won’t have committed much money.

Eat MeTea and Crumpets

At Jamie Oliver’s inaugural The Big Feastival in July 2011 (a combination of live music performances and pop up stalls from some of London’s top restaurants) I came across Strumpet With Crumpets: the elaborately decorated food truck sells square crumpets with a variety of toppings from the regular (eg honey), to the more adventurous (eg plum jam and creme fraiche), as well as savoury choices (eg mature cheddar and chorizo, or goats cheese with blackcurrant jam).

I can vouch for the fact that a crumpet with chocolate spread, banana and honeycomb is a winning menu item but at