Tomorrow, between eight-thirty and nine-thirty pm, is Earth Hour. For sixty minutes, WWF are asking people to turn off lights and other unnecessary electrical items, dimming the planet a little, saving power. This will lower, briefly, our dependence on generated electricity, and hopefully leave a footprint in the energy statistics to give some kind of illustration about what can be done when it comes to people, councils, and governments working together for the greater good. I know all this because I saw a poster on a bus shelter the other day, whilst idling on a work-bound double-decker. I drifted off for a moment, bored of reading two day-old news in the Metro, and began wondering what would happen if, instead of Earth Hour – we had Beer Hour. What would that be like?
Imagine a benevolent, sudsy authority, urging producers to put aside their differences for just sixty minutes. Stripping back the war of words, the agonies of semantics, and the supermarket-shelf sluggery. All for a momentary, higher calling. A chance to have everyone on the planet sit down, for an hour, and enjoy a beer. For that fleeting period, put down your dimpled mugs and moustache combs, hold back from sending that cease and desist letter. Forget, for just that time, why yours is the ale of the future, and the others are just derivative, poorly-branded, and inferior; encourage all to have a beer – irrespective of provenance, size, serving method, or location. Let’s have a kickabout in no-mans’ land.
So, how would it work? Well, obviously you’d have to allow for those who don’t, or can’t, drink – I’m not advocating enforced distribution of booze to children (I don’t think even Heineken would swing for that). But for consenting adults, who are unencumbered for that time period and a safe distance from operating machinery, imagine if they all just sat down, and had a beer? Any beer – uncork a prized lambic, or simply nod at the guy standing behind the Fosters tap, it doesn’t matter. It’s Beer Hour. One hour, one beer. Show the world why it is our rightfully favoured beverage, play up to the conviviality, the good humour.
Catch up with old friends for that time, or make new ones. Talk to your server, bartender, landlord or bottle shop lackey. Speak to somebody in the pub you wouldn’t normally. Make the effort and finally approach mad Derek in the corner, ask him about his greyhounds. It’s only for an hour. If all the major booze companies stopped pouring their money through Tim Lovejoy’s sphincter into the cesspool that is Let There Be Beer, and got behind Beer Hour instead, the world would be a better place. Macro or Imperial, stand shoulder to shoulder and demonstrate how amazing beer is.
If Beer Hour actually did happen, what would it achieve? Well, I like to think it would mean plenty of people would discover they actually liked beer, having thought they didn’t. Maybe some would try a different brand, or style, and move their beer journey clicker a notch further. More money would flow into our pubs; brewery sales would increase. Lifetime friends would be made, relationships sparked, proposals of marriage resultant. Combatants would lay down their arms, peace returning to troubled soils around the world. No more war. Cats and dogs, living in peace.
Ok, here’s what would actually happen – someone would get the wrong idea and think the entire concept was a competition to see how much beer you can drink in an hour, and poison themselves. The Daily Mail would run with this on their front page, denouncing the evils of our national drink, and the fledgling ‘steins around the world’ movement would be crushed, in its infancy. Seizing their chance, wine would jump in, with their powerful, if misplaced, alliance with the cheese marketing board – Wine and Cheese Hour (4:30-5:30pm) becomes the thing, a global shortage of spittoons is the result. Spittoons, people.