“The sun has got his hat on”

27 August 2018, 11:04 am
Fine Food by Charles Campion

It has been an unusual summer

For once ”flaming” June actually flamed, and so did most of July. The weather men on television saw their predictions come true not once but for weeks at a time. We have all had to work out what 30ᵒC means in old money. And then there was the World Cup, with football not only taking over the centre stage but the England team doing surprisingly well.

For once anyone selling food and drink saw sales rise sharply. Which brings us to the strange phenomenon that is synchronised beer throwing. 26 million viewers watched England’s progress and huge crowds gathered in every available open space (providing there was a bar). Then madness took control, whenever England scored a goal or gleaned a penalty everyone threw the contents of their glasses up in the air.

Beer flinging has become the 21st Century equivalent of those Victorian worthies who threw their hats in the air to mark any significant sporting triumph. But whilst the Victorians got their hats back, once the beer has taken flight it’s gone and presumably you have to buy another pint in readiness for the next high point in the game.

Some drink sellers toe a more cynical line, they do not care whether the beer is drunk or merely thrown up in the air – a sale is a sale and what customers do with the beer they have queued for is their business.

Perhaps beer flinging is all a plot funded by laundries and dry cleaners keen to profit from punters who have watched the game from under a bracing beer shower. Or perhaps there is a marketing opportunity?

If customers are not going to drink the beer but merely fling it, this liquid could be alcohol-free. That would save a good deal of tax, better margins. And less attention could be paid to the flavour, cellar conditions and serving temperature of the brew. Thankfully beer flinging is a seasonal pastime it is rather dependent on the weather and mighty though the sales increase was during the football tournament, it would have never been so successful without the prolonged sunny weather that stimulated sales.

The truth is we are silly about the weather, the evidence may be anecdotal but when the mercury rises it seems as if people smile more, drink more and buy more. Hot weather and cheerfulness go hand-in-hand and the traditional British grumbles about the weather are pushed down the conversational batting order.

All of this should be welcomed, we may have to wait several years for football’s World Cup to come around once more, but in the meantime we should celebrate even a few days of good weather. We all have our favourite seasons, May is charming and then there is September which acts as the hinge between summer and autumn and often provides a magnificent Indian summer to change the mood. Just what is needed to lay foundation for pre-Christmas sales.

Not every fad associated with the World Cup has been long lived. Do you remember South Africa and the exasperating, manic drone of the Vuvuzela? Beer flinging also deserves its moment in the spotlight although the need for a friendly nod from the weather gods may well put a crimp in its long term future.

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