Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Bartering for Beer

ABC News ended the show tonight with a segment on The Pigs, an Edgefield pub, which allows patrons to barter for beer. The owner accepts just about anything: rhubarb, freshly caught fish, or home-grown potatoes. It all started when the owner decided to give a a hunter two pints for a pheasant. Everything is cooked up in the kitchen and put on the menu by talented (and apparently quite flexible) chefs:

Recently, she has handed over a pint for a brace of pheasant, three mackerel, a kilogramme of potatoes and a kilogramme of fresh fruit.

All the produce is then passed on to Mr Abbott who makes up daily specials...

"When we get the good stuff, and it gets on to the specials board, it's brilliant. Someone will say 'that rabbit tasted great' and we say 'here, meet the person who shot it'.

While a brace of pheasant can't beat currency when it comes to liquidity, and pricing must be problematic (both how much beer to award and how to accurately price dishes made from bartered food), I'm sure it has drawn lots of business. Unfortunately, I suspect it won't be long until Alistair Darling notices the potential for tax evasion, or someone gets sick from a funky fish and sues.

Interestingly, both The Telegraph's story and the ABC News segment (perhaps trying to be topical?) claim that The Pigs started the system in response to the credit crisis, but according to the owner they have been doing so for two years. In any case, I wish I'd known about this while I was still in the UK! I'll have to make a trip out to Norfolk next time I'm in the country...

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