I just came back from a month in the UK, traveling, visiting family and socializing in the pubs. It was pleasing to see the amount of wine being consumed by women and men alike. While beer is still very popular (I admit being a big fan of English beer and took advantage of the option to drink beer during my stay) wine is being consumed much more frequently. Not only in the pubs but in most restaurants you will usually see a bottle or two of wine on the table.
U.S. wines were in short supply, in fact in most places there were at most one or two on a good sized wine list. There was however a large variety of wines from all over Europe, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Even in the small village of Uppermill (approximate population 3,000) where I was staying there was a lovely wine shop, The Wine Vault, tucked away in the basement of an old building. The shop carried a large selection of wines. The ones we chose, with help from the attentive staff were very good.
I was also able to sample some of the British sparkling wine, which I have been wanting to do. I was very impressed with the ones we chose. The wine is winning awards in Europe and the wine industry in Britain is growing.
The craft beer movement is big all over Britain as it is in the U.S. and we were able to sample some delicious, local craft beers wherever we went.
Upon returning to the U.S. we found that a new supermarket had opened in the small town in which I live. It has incorporated a tavern with about eight craft beers on tape as well as wine and cider by the bottle or by the glass. So after you have finished your shopping you can pop along to the tavern for a glass. They also serve food or you can buy food in the store and bring it into the tavern. What a great concept. It was a delight to go in there on Sunday afternoon with some friends. It certainly makes grocery shopping more fun.
I am happy to see wine and beer being incorporated into more areas of our lives and more places for the small purveyors to sell their products.
A tip of the glass from me to you!