Yesterday’s papers ran with the story that beer has been banned from the Royal Wedding.
“It was always their intention to give their guests a sophisticated experience and they have chosen the food and drink with this in mind.”
What a shameful, depressing, snobbish, bigoted, blinkered, rude, clueless, cruel, idiotic thing to say.
You might just have been able to dismiss this as a faux pas – you can’t and shouldn’t force anyone to drink what they don’t want, and this could just be an unthinking oversight in a wedding where every single choice of decoration, clothing, dinner service and music is being analysed and dissected to discover it’s meaning and symbolism.
Except this is no oversight – that use of the word ‘inappropriate’ shows that this is a deliberate, calculated snub. It would not be ‘appropriate’ to have beer served in the Queen’s presence. The very presence of beer – any beer – would be offensive to her royal sensibility.
And so Britain’s national drink – the thing for which Britain is best known after the royals themselves – is barred from the wedding of Britain’s future monarch.
(Also, needless to say, the ‘sophisticated’ wines being served will not include some of the many excellent British wines available today).
In part this just shows up the royal family as the overprivileged and out of touch twits we already know them to be. But it also shows up the populist impression of the relative worth of different drinks. Despite all the progress we’ve accomplished in beer look more interesting, classy and worthy of serious gastronomic consideration, the mainstream image is still that it is boorish and not to be taken seriously.
Past generations of royals went to Burton-on-Trent and ‘brewed’ special beers to commemorate events such as royal weddings. Not this lot. What can we expect when, last year, a visibly disinterested Princess Anne turned up to open the new National Brewing Centre in Burton and made a speech to the assembled throng about how she didn’t like beer.
Even Prince Charles’ own beer, sold under the Duchy Originals brand, is apparently good enough for him to make a fat profit from, but not good enough to supply to his son’s wedding.
The royal family has stuck two fingers up to one of the last remaining manufacturing industries in their kingdom, especially to the plethora of breweries who have created special commemorative beers for the big day (yes, they’re cashing in, but they’re also wishing the royal couple well).
Particularly given that £1 of every pint sold in the UK consists of duty and VAT, which goes to the public purse, which is in turn paying for the event, the contempt shown by the royals towards their subjects, their economy, and the icons and traditions of their kingdom, is sickening.
So. If beer is not good enough for the royal wedding, I suggest the royal wedding is not good enough for beer. I urge brewers to rebadge their royal beers with republican designs. I urge pubs not to show the royal wedding, and to advertise themselves as royal wedding-free zones.
I also urge the BBPA to make a formal protest to the royal family using some of the points I have made above, if not the same language, and to issue a press release condemning this shameful contempt for beer.
Go to the pub on Friday. Celebrate the free day off. But don’t show one ounce of support for these beer hating snobs.