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The social distancing drinker


Off licences are stocked full of different drinks

Off licences are stocked full of different drinks

Off licences are stocked full of different drinks

Every cloud has a silver lining. Even Covid-19. When it comes to drinking, the silver lining is that we will be buying most of our drink from shops rather than pubs for the foreseeable future, and we are more adventurous when we have time to think.

If you are anything like me, you find it difficult to think when standing at a bar with a bored-looking barperson waiting for your order. Most bars have a limited stock of drinks, so you call quickly and feel like a idiot when asking for drinks that aren't available. So our brains empty and we revert to ordering what we ordered last time. Pubs are not conducive to adventurous choices.

Supermarkets and off-licences (many are taking online orders) are different. No barperson is tapping the counter impatiently. You don't even have be able to get your tongue around unpronounceable place names or grape varieties. It would be idle to deny that we are not seduced by the superficial; a pretty label, a beautifully shaped bottle or a bargain price tag. Off-licences' shelves are full of bad drinks in attractive packaging, but those shelves are also packed with interesting drinks made by enthusiastic wine makers, brewers and distillers who are not prepared to play the games needed to be stocked in pubs.

I suspect one of the lasting effects of Covid-19 will be long-term damage to the large drinks companies, and a public that is more attuned to the joys of the many drinks that are not routinely stocked in bars.

Of course, the big drinks companies won't be the only victims of this crisis. The overcrowded craft-brewery sector and the dozens of new distillers that have appeared in recent years will endure plenty of casualties, which is heart-breaking. There are so many good people across the country, full of amazing optimism, trying to make great drinks. In these difficult times, they deserve our support.

Sunday Indo Life Magazine