Why your customers are no small beer

There’s an interesting lesson in customer care in The Times’ City Diary section this morning, which reveals a rant by Marston’s managing director Stephen Oliver over members of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

According to the tirade, published in today’s Morning Advertiser, CAMRA members are ‘beardy weirdies’, ‘malcontents’ and ‘sandal-clad, whisker-stroking stormtroopers’ with ‘a beer gut the size of Rotherham’ who won’t accept a guest ale unless it is presented ‘with bits in it under a name like Knackered Old Cripplecock’.

City Diary’s editor Martin Waller points out this is a bit of a ‘Gerald Ratner moment’ for Oliver, and it could prove to be – but unlike Ratner, who jokingly called one of his products ‘crap’ and subsequently lost his jewellery empire, the majority of Oliver’s customers might be inclined to agree with him. 

He could have approached it with a bit more sensitivity, though: with recent figures showing two village pubs are closing every day, we’d have thought the head of one of the country’s largest brewers would hold off on the tirades to protect the pub owners faced with cellars full of Marston’s ale to sell – who might not find the comments quite as amusing.

Image: Flickr


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