Alloa's boozers are not 'dives'
Published: 26 Aug 2013 07:003 comments
ALLOA drinkers have been branded "brainless" and the town's pubs "dives" by an online tourist guide.
The Good Soup Guide claims to be Scotland's Online Tourist Guide with around 50,000 visitors to the website a year.
Its August newsletter published in July makes a scathing attack on Alloa describing it as "a town with no taste".
Site owner Edward Burns writes that none of the town's pubs sell beers by Alloa-based brewer, Williams Bros, before using that as a vitriolic launching pad. He states that some pubs had previously stocked the beer but had since stopped due to a lack of demand.
Mr Burns writes, "Perhaps Joe Public has been brainwashed by the drivelling hype spewed out by big national breweries so that every time he sets foot in a pub he is unable to think any further than some tasteless foamy crap that has travelled hundreds of miles on roads to get here.
"I just find it all more than a bit alarming. Now, more than ever, we are trying to focus on the consumption of locally grown or made things so as to reduce the number of huge delivery lorries on our roads, not to mention carbon footprints and all, and here we have a town with a brewery and not one pub in that town sells it's (sic) ales. I would ask what the people of Alloa think, but concede that thinking can be difficult without a brain."
Mr Burns says he once lived in the town and found it exuded a "certain palpable roughness".
He adds, "Alloa's pubs are mostly dives, places no discerning sane man or woman would wish to visit. Which is why I'm quite happy staying in Glasgow, a city with many fine public houses, and a city where I can visit a pub and drink the New Alloa Brewery's (Williams Bros) tasty ales."
Depute council leader, Craig Holden, who lives in the town, hit back at Mr Burns' assumptions claiming he was an "idiot" or "getting Alloa mixed up with Alva". He said, "I found the article patronising, insulting and quite frankly ill informed. The author of the article obviously finds it difficult to accept that people can have a taste different to his own which suggests that he is more than a bit intolerant.
"His claims that Alloa exudes 'roughness' and that the pubs are all 'dives' would be more credible if he didn't divulge the fact that he lives in Glasgow."
He added that he took the article as a "bit of a laugh" and pointed out positive reviews on the website - including the recommendation of the train journey from Stirling to Alloa - and hoped others wouldn't be put off visiting the area.
Fellow Alloa councillor, Kenny Earle, called the article an "insult" to the licence trade.
He said, "At a time when we are trying to encourage people to come to Alloa and spend in Alloa on the success of the football team the last thing we need is this ill-informed guide. He has done no palpable research on the licensed premises in Alloa. There are a number of highly intelligent people that stay in Alloa or in close proximity and who drink in Alloa.
He added, "The licensed premises in Alloa are extremely welcoming. We have some old style pubs which add character to the town but they're not spit and sawdust premises, they're well run pubs."
The Advertiser took to the pubs of Alloa town centre to see if the online guide's assertion stacked up.
Of the seven pubs in the immediate centre streets, two served real ales and beers by local brewers.
The Thistle Bar at Junction Place continues to have real ale on draught and stocks bottles of Williams Bros beers.
Since its refurbishment, the Old Brewery in East Vennel now has real ale. The pub in the former brew house was also advertising Bitter and Twisted by Alva-based brewers, Harviestoun.
David Westland, chair of Alloa Town Centre BID and owner of The Star Inn in Drysdale Street, said the town had a "vibrant" pub life.
He said, "Night life in Alloa is vibrant with ten premises all offering a variety of community activities which include darts, dominos, pool and football. Customers can find locally produced beer where demand dictates."