Never a good month for the hospitality industry, when “dryanuary” raises its ugly head. Usually as a postscript to rampant overspending at Christmas, its perhaps understandable and everyone in the industry braces themselves for its impact after Christmas. However, this year, we didn’t have a Christmas as such and January has seemed interminable as we continue to eke out a living based on the governments’ frankly unbelievable criteria.

It seems almost beyond comprehension that in a very short time it will be 12 months since we have traded significantly. (As a wet led pub we had to close earlier than others, and with only a brief operating window with full social distancing in place.)

As it is, the latest suggestions are that we won’t be opening until May, as the very last sector to re-open when restrictions are eased. For us, the shop has been our lifeline, which fortunately we set in train after Lockdown 1, when John, our joiner, built shelving for all the beer we had left over and we were all;e to swing over to shop sales when new restrictions were introduced.

But its not been fun, more a grinding out of an occupation; no banter, no special projects, no trips to plan, no Saturday County fans and when I go into the pub for any reason there’s a sad, forlorn look about it.

January of course, for us is also about our first Monsters Weekend of the year. Its our perfect response to dryanuary and also one of our more popular and anticipated events.

This year, it will be much later in the year, but we have the beer, safely secreted in our “cupboard” at Torrside Brewing. 6 casks, including 4 exclusive beers casked just for us, means whenever it comes, the Monsters will be a classic and hopefully be a moment when we finally start to put all this behind us.

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