The pub industry is rapidly gearing up for the next big event that we hope we can use to salvage our increasingly torrid 2012 trade: the Olympics.
With the Diamond Jubilee turning out to be a damp squib and the Euros falling unsurprisingly short of England's best performance, we've only got the International Running and Jumping competition left to fall back on.
Almost every event in between these "big" opportunities has also fallen foul of the weather with many being cancelled or performing poorly thanks to the Jet Stream, which appears to have become the nemesis of anybody trying to put together a good time outdoors this year.
Even indoor events have suffered as members of the public choose to cosy up at home on the sofa with a glass of wine and the telly instead of braving the elements to find out what's going on in their local.
With just days to go to the Olympics starting I must confess that the event has always left a bitter taste in my mouth. The much-heralded arrival of the Olympic Torch in our nearest town of Newmarket (4 miles away) decimated trade for the day as everybody went to watch it make its way up the high street (if they'd checked Google Maps when the Torch arrived in the country I'm sure it would have made it to London by now...) and I've always been a bit pessimistic about how much the event will really bring to pubs that aren't in the vicinity of an Olympic location. Will people really go to the pub to watch it?
Despite the wet weather and beleaguered performance of 2012 trade, and my personal doubts, like many publicans I'll be plugging on with a smile on my face and a determination to make it work. My wife and I had already been planning promotions and slogans we could use to try and attract customers through the door of our small village venue, only to learn this morning that the Olympic Committee is sending out a small army of 'brand police' to make sure we don't try and make our pub sound like an "official Olympic venue".
As I can only seat thirty people it's unlikely anybody will mistake me for the actual place to go and see the table tennis finals but I do have a sign on my door that was given to me by Coca Cola and contains the Olympic logo, so I suppose stranger things have happened.
According to today's Independent, pubs are allowed to put "watch the Olympic Games here and enjoy a cold pint of lager..." but if our A-boards are branded with, say, Greene King's logo we're not allowed to use them to let people know we're showing the games. Which will be a bit of a pain for those of us without unbranded boards - unless, of course, the Olympic Committee are going to supply us with them...
Worse still, apparently new legislation has been created to ban anybody from using the word Gold. Or Silver. Or Bronze. Or, amazingly, 2012. Twenty Twelve is banned too. And Two Thousand and Twelve. I apparently can't use the word London, either.
(Not that we're really having one, so I suppose I would leave that one out.)
Now, the last time I checked, these words - and others in the list - are not actually protected by trademark so if I want to offer a celebratory pint of IPA Gold to my customers, I'm jolly well going to. I might even write on my A-boards "watch the Olympics here" and "enjoy Gold this Summer".
With 700'000 unsold tickets, a failed security company and the shambles surrounding the "Olympic Lanes" on the roads in to London, I would have thought that the Olympic Committee had more to worry about than whether I'm branding my menus with Golden 2012 Summer offers.
Lord knows what they'll make of Little Chef's Olympic Breakfast, then...
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