Yeah – I know Christmas has been and gone. I’m just laughing at everyone who thinks they overspent and overindulged and now feels overweight and under-resourced! Cruel I know, but I never learn either, so I’m laughing WITH you, not AT you! [To prevent myself from crying, mainly – I seem to be about 5lbs heavier than I was this time last month, so it’s on with the Fitbit and the walking boots in January for me.



This time last year, I let everyone know about Alcohol Concern’s ‘Dry January’ campaign, while reminding you that we support pubs, not alcohol consumption. Although the two are inextricably linked, and some members of the OPC committee do enjoy the odd real ale and craft beer, we all know that alcohol over-consumption can be a serious problem, and thatJan2016 I1 sometimes you just want to ‘have a break’.

So if you don’t want to abstain completely, but you do want to give your body and your wallet a bit of a rest, why not join in with “TRYanuary” this year? The idea is to seek out new INDEPENDENT breweries, beers and bars, and to share your discoveries with people throughout January. You could visit a local brewery to learn about the beer they make; try a new pub that’s opened, but that you haven’t been to yet; or just ask in your local which beers really are local, and give one of them a try. Then share your discoveries and find other people’s via the #tryanuary hashtag!

As they say on the website – – this is definitely not about drinking more, it’s about trying something different; tasting something new; experiencing something interesting. And this doesn’t just have to be for January, so remember – drink in moderation. All year round!



It seems like a long time until IWD 2016 on March the 8th, but if Christmas has taught me anything, it’s that these events are on top of you before you realise! So here’s an early advert, and a suggestion from one of the organisers of an event in Otley. This year, Otley Courthouse is holding a weekend of events that highlight wJan2016 I2omen’s issues and needs, both locally and worldwide, promoted by a newly-formed local organisation called Otley Women Together. Everyone will be welcome throughout the weekend, regardless of age or sex, but OWT do want to represent the whole spectrum of women’s’ views in Otley.

Although Otley Pub Club might not appear to be the first place they would look for representation, we do accept that going into a traditional pub can still sometimes be a completely different experience for women than it is for men. [After all, it’s not THAT long since the last ‘men-only’ bars disappeared from some Yorkshire pubs, and women only gained equal rights in working men’s clubs in 2007!] so when I was asked if we had a women’s section I thought it was worth raising it here. If any of our female members (or committee members) want to start a women’s section, and/or give us specific advice on how we can promote events that you would like to attend, please do let me know. [And, as always, if you don’t want to get involved but you have ANY suggestions that you think others might like to promote – just send me your ideas in an email. I’d love to receive them.]



This is a new organisation made up of representatives from 12 existing organisations who support ‘Pubco’ reform and changes to taxation, to help landlords and to stop the decline of traditional pub numbers in Britain. Otley Pub Club’s President, Liberal Democrat MP and Chair of the Parliamentary all-Party Save the Pub Group, Greg Mulholland will be its first Chairman, with Clive Davenport of the Federation of Small Businesses as vice-Chair. They intend “to ensure that pubs, publicans and pub supporters have a powerful and united voice in campaigning and in lobbying Government . . (and they) will focus on reform to the tied model, fairer taxation for pubs, better business rates, and ‘fair and sensible’ licensing.” So we can only wish them good luck in their endeavours! [From an article in The Publican’s Morning Advertiser]



If there was ever any doubt about the importance of pubs to the community they serve, the recent floods across the North of England have surely removed it. Here in Otley, the pubs immediately offered help and a respite from the weather to anyone who was unable to cross the bridge over the River Wharfe to get home. When the electricity went off at one pub in Lancaster, with the fridges full of food that was likely to go off, the staff somehow managed to provide hot soup and turkey sandwiches free to anyone in need. And following Storm Desmond, a campaign called #DrinkCumbriaDry
was created, whereby 20p from every pint sold in pubs was sent to the Cumbria Flood Appeal.


 . . . and THE GJan2016 I3REAT BRITISH PUB

I’ve just rediscovered an article about The Golden Lion in Camden, North London, which appeared on The Guardian website back in October last year as ‘The Death and Life of a Great British Pub’. It’s a long article, but it describes perfectly the machinations of Pubcos, the underhand dealings of property developers, and the endless fight against people with power and money that pub landlords have to go through to protect the livelihood and their family. If you’re at all interested in why Otley Pub Club was formed, or why we keep banging on about saving pubs, this is well worth reading!



The first meeting of 2016 will be on this Thursday, January 7th in The Old Cock. As usual, the committee will meet at 19:00 for a 19:15 start, and we always hope to be finished by 20:00 so we can have a relaxed drink before moving on to the second pub. This week, that will be The Bowling Green [from 20:45] and we’ll move on again to The Otley Tavern at 21:30.

Everyone is welcome to sit in on the committee meeting itself – and maybe, just maybe, 2016 will be the year when some of you realise that it’s quite good fun thinking up events to support Otley’s pubs, and then seeing them successfully put into effect! We could certainly do with an extra couple of brains and pairs of hands – preferably of the less-than-middle-aged, and female varieties, so that we can be sure we are representing ALL potential pub-goers in Otley. [see also IWD 2016 above.]

Philanthropic drinker

Philanthropic drinker

AND (almost) FINALLY

If you’re still feeling bad about the amount you’ve had to drink over Christmas and New Year, just read this quote from Babe Ruth, one of the greatest baseball players of all time – and feel good about yourself instead!

“Sometimes when I reflect on all the beer I drink, I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn’t drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. I think, “It is better to drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.”



ERRORS AND OMISSIONS – Otley Beer Festival

At the end of every Newsletter, I always apologise for things I might have misrepresented, or facts I might have misinterpreted. Nevertheless, if anyone ever feels they need me to correct a specific error, I’m always willing to do so. In December, in an article thanking RATS for another very successful Otley Beer Festival, I said there was “slightly less beer sold” at OBF 2015 than at the previous year’s festival, and that “another few thousand pounds was made (sic) for this year’s chosen charities”. However, I subsequently received a message from one of the festival organisers saying the article gave “a wrong impression” of the Festival, and seeking a correction/apology. I am happy to include the correct information, which they included in their message as follows –

“Yes, the Festival was a greater success than last year, as we had more beers [including for the first time five keg beers. We had more customers; more beer was consumed [and not less as stated in the newsletter]; and we still had a fair selection of beers available at the end of the festival – we did not run out of beers as has been done by some other festivals in the past.

“We have given a larger amount of money to our chosen charities this year, and have already handed over more than £7,000 – this means that the total monies raised by us for the Church and local charities over the years now stands at £77,700.”

So I’m glad to endorse the fact that the Festival was even more successful than I might have implied. And don’t forget – if I do ever get anything wrong, please don’t be afraid to get in touch right away, and let me have the true story for inclusion in the next issue!

And always keep checking our website – at – for more news, and updates on future meetings. Hope to see you this Thursday JANUARY 7th [and of course as often as possible in Otley’s pubs!]


Bob Brook

OPC Secretary

04 January 2016

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