Morrisons disappearing ale offers

As any regular blog reader (or twitter follower) will know I visit Morrisons at the start of each month to see what that month's ale offers are. Since May or June they have had at least one ale available for £1 a bottle.  In the summer months (before I started blogging about ale) there was Hobgoblin[baron rating 4/5], Ruddles County[baron rating 4/5] and Brakspear Bitter[baron rating 5/5] all available for £1/bottle - a great price indeed.

But recently it hasn't been so clear cut...

It was with the Brakspear Bitter offer that things began to change. When I first saw it on offer in August, Brakspear Bitter was clearly labelled at £1/bottle with a nice big 'on offer' style shelf label.  I bought a couple (and soon returned to clear the shelf after I'd sampled it).  It was on a subsequent visit a week later that I noticed something strange.  In its second week of the month on offer the discount shelf label was gone and so it was back to the same price as the majority of the ales - £1.67/bottle.  I took some up to the cashier for a price check who confirmed that they were £1/bottle.  It remained without a shelf discount label for the rest of that month and every week I checked and bought some more for £1/bottle - I must have been the only person who knew about the offer!

The September Morrisons offers were pretty poor (small discounts on overpriced bottles compared to other places) so I waited for October.  These were a little more promising with a great deal on 8-bottle boxes of Hobgoblin[baron rating 4/5] (8 bottles for £8) and a good price for Adnams Lighthouse[baron rating 2/5] pale ale - £1/bottle.  This Adnams ale promptly sold out in the first week of the month never to be replaced for the remaining three weeks - it's shelf spot was filled with Adnams Gunhill[baron rating 3/5] but with the shelf discount of £1/bottle still mis-displayed in front of it.

In the second week of October's ale month I was informed by @chilliupnorth (via twitter) that his local Morrisons (Redcar) was selling Marston's Victorious Bitter[baron rating 1/5] for £1/bottle. It wasn't until the fourth week of the month that this beer finally showed up on the Ormskirk shelves and was not marked as being £1/bottle but rather placed where Marston's Pedigree[baron rating 3/5] is usually located and so labelled as Pedigree at £1.67/bottle.  A quick price check confirmed that it was discounted at £1/bottle.

So now we come to this month: Morrison's November ale offers. There are some reasonable discounts of various strong ales but only one '£1/bottle' deal, this time for Brains SA[baron rating 2/5].  However, although I visited on only the second day of the new offers, and despite the large £1 offer sign on the shelf there was no Brains SA in sight.  I checked two days later and was pleased to see some on the shelf, but where had the large '£1/bottle' sign gone?  It was now listed as 'Brains SA Gold' at £1.67 but strangely Brains SA Gold (also priced at £1.67) was also available on a different shelf of the ale section.  I asked for a price check on the bottle and was told that it was £1, so the offer is still on but the shelf shows no sign of this. I've continued to check since the beginning of the month and the sign is still missing...

I wanted to know about other Morrisons stores so after a quick Twitter request, I received confirmation from @chilliupnorth in Redcar & @realalereviews in Morley, South Leeds that their local Morrisons were correctly displaying the offer:

So what does this all mean?
  • Are Ormskirk Morrisons staff members keeping all the cheap ale to themselves?
  • Are the shelf stackers clueless about ale, have no idea where this stuff should go?
  • Is it that signs are removed as these ales are not the normal ones that my local Morrison's sells and so there's no shelf space for new ones?
  • Is the local store management not willing to take the hit for the 'loss leading' ale discounts passed down from head office?
So what do you think? Any Morrisons employees care to comment? Am I being far too pessimistic?


Curmudgeon said...

It is rather strange that the Morrisons store in Hollinwood, Oldham, gives you the 4 for £5.50 discount on beers and ciders priced at £1.67 a bottle, but doesn't advertise this on its shelves at all...

Baron Orm said...

Curmudgeon, the Ormskirk store has lots of information on that deal. Does it give clear details of the ones on the £1/bottle? An update on the Oldham store would be very useful...

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