Are friends electric? Bar staff beware Mr Asahi

08 August, 2008

His arms have been built in Japan, his hands made in Aylesbury and his head

constructed in Leicester. He weighs a quarter of a tonne but never needs to be fed. Yes, we know there are a million people that description might apply to, but we're talking about Mr Asahi - the robotic barman currently touring bars and supermarkets across the UK.

Mr Asahi can serve ice-cold draught beer and de-cap bottles .

"He can even serve customers with a robotic smile ," claim his creators. "Uniquely, Mr Asahi can reply politely to questions from his customers and stays calm under pressure. Not only is he quicker than a human, he's also an employer's dream with no need for a loo break."

We don't even dare ask how Mr Asahi deals with under-age customers.

Like a prayer

God does exist - in Waitrose, at least. Swedish microbrewer Nils Oscar has its God Lager in 174 stores .

"It is unique because of the fact that, as far as we know, it is the only European brewery able to control the whole production chain from the soil at Tärnö (the estate), malting, brewing and ­distilling process to finished product," says the company. The product - pronounced "good" - is moving off the shelves.

In mysterious ways, of course.

Don't give up the day job

"This is actually my real diary even though it's only about wine," says Tony Laithwaite, introducing his online blog. "My non-wine life wouldn't interest you. Doesn't interest me a lot."

The July 17 instalment describes an ­intriguing career change which lasted less than a minute. "Got a job trial in Gordon Ramsay's new Butchers Block kitchen at The Maze," Tony writes, "grilling some amazing Japanese beef worth a fortune and asking if it's meant to flare up like that. The Glaswegian chef's reply is unprintable and the job ended 30 seconds later.

"I will stick to choosing the wine."

An eye for speelling

We like Noffla - the National Off-licence Association of Ireland. A friendlier and more professional bunch you couldn't wish to meet, but they need to brush up on their spelling - especially words which, given their line of business, they really ought to be getting right.

"Representing independent off-licenses throughout Ireland" declares the headline on their home page, right next to a logo in which the offending word is spelled correctly.

Delightfully synchronised

Wetherspoon has claimed a new Guinness world record after 17,540 customers took part in the largest

synchronised wine tasting on May 21.

Tasters simultaneously enjoyed a glass of Fetzer Coldwater Creek in 694 pubs throughout the UK at the start of the latest Wetherspoon Wine Festival.

Wetherspoon comments: "We are delighted to have created a new Guinness world record."

And Fetzer countered: "Fetzer were delighted to be able to help Wetherspoon break the Guinness world record."

So, all in all, it was delightful.

Finger lickin' scoop

We're not sure how much of an outcry there was when the Oddbins' branch in Newbury closed . But there has been frenzied excitement in the Berkshire town about what's replacing it.

"Fast-food diners could soon be lickin' Colonel Sanders' chicken from their fingers after Kentucky Fried Chicken formally announced its first Newbury branch," trumpeted the Newbury Weekly News.

"The southern soul-food chain will replace Oddbins wine shop in Wharf Street following much speculation over the chain's future in the town when it was granted planning consent in March."

Does KFC strictly count as "soul food"? Either way, 300 people declared themselves members of a "Newbury needs KFC" campaign group. Perhaps there are similar groups in other towns, protesting about a lack of a Nicolas branch. It would be nice to think so.

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