A Surrey brewery boss may be the only Englishman crying into his beer if England beat Croatia in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday, following an earlier promise of a free pint to customers in the brewery’s shop ahead of the final next weekend.
Rupert Thompson, managing director of Hogs Back Brewery in Tongham, pledged back in May that if Southgate’s squad made it to the final, the brewery would give a free pint of ale to anyone stocking up on beers from the brewery shop on Saturday 15 July.
Thompson said, “Like many people my age, I’ve watched the England football team crash out of tournaments for the best part of three decades. The chances of them getting to the World Cup final seemed negligible and, therefore, so was the likelihood of having to honour our free pint promise.
“Looking back, we were somewhat dismissive of the England squad’s chances; we even suggested that any pubs stocking Three Hogs, our World Cup beer, should make sure they sold it all during the group stage.”
As Kane and his unstoppable young team storm on towards the final, Thompson is rueing his rash generosity and calculating the likely cost if England is one of the teams running onto the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday. An estimated 30 million-plus people are expected to watch at home or in the pub, many of them beer in hand.
He said, “The lesson, that I should perhaps have learned earlier in life, is never to underestimate football’s capacity to surprise, as we approach a semi-final line up that nobody would have predicted with most of the favourites knocked out.
“England playing in the World Cup Final will certainly cost us in beer we never dreamed we’d have to give away. However, if there were ever an occasion where we felt happy about taking a bit of a financial hit, then this is it!”
The Hogs Back Brewery shop will be offering a free pint of Hogs Back ale to visitors purchasing beers on Saturday 15 July, if England are in the final the next day. The brewery will also be screening England games in a newly-constructed outside area, allowing fans to watch the match with their favourite Hogs Back beer. Capacity is limited so places should be booked in advance at www.hogsback.co.uk/world-cup-screening