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‘Jesus was a beer drinker, not wine’

Ahead of their Leicester Square Theatre show, Diary gets some bar-stool philosophy from Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland, the 'Thinking Drinkers'

27 November, 2018 — By The Xtra Diary

Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland, the Thinking Drinkers

WITH the season of goodwill upon us, Diary is getting into training to ensure we can last the pace with the hectic round of social engagements our position requires us to fulfil at this special time of year.

And where better to limber up than in the company of the Thinking Drinkers, the dynamic duo of all things booze-related?

Award-winning Ben McFarland and his co-slurper Tom Sandham have travelled the world performing their show about… well, simply put, alcohol.

Now they are hitting the Leicester Square Theatre in December to present their latest show, The Thinking Drinkers’ Pub Crawl.

I’m told it is a “whistle-stop tour” through the greatest watering holes in human history.

“It’s a journey from Wild West saloon to Victorian gin palace, beach bar and great British pub,” slurs Ben.

Knowing the pair as we do, expect bar-stool philosophy, oddities, gags, drinks and five free drinks to help lubricate things.

The pair have been doing their Thinking Drinkers tours for eight years but usually focus on what is in the glass, not where the glass is served – something this show puts right.

“We’ve visited stories around the history and global influences of drink, but we’ve not looked closely at drinking establishments before,” says Ben.

“We spend a lot of time in pubs and bars, so it proved an easy one to research. We were also motivated by statistical evidence that pubs are closing at an alarming rate – as many as 19 are shutting each week and based on the numbers of pubs we have in the UK, if that continues, there could be no pubs left by 2075.

“We love the pub, so we can’t have that.”

Their hard work studying the issues has thrown up some interesting points: we learn that crisps were invented in an American saloon bar in the 19th century, and that Muslims perfected distillation in the 9th century.

“In fact, the scientist we credit with the alembic still was called Gerber and wrote down the method for his distillation in an almost indecipherable code, and from the Gerber, we get the word ‘gibberish’,” says Ben.

“Jesus was a beer drinker, not wine, there’s evidence to prove as much. Our shows are full of this sort of pub ammo.”

To hear more – and sample some proper nice booze that includes Diplomatico Rum, Ketel One Vodka, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Four Pillars Gin and Lagunitas beer, as their mantra is “Drink Less, Drink Better” – head to the Leicester Square Theatre on December 11.

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