You always hear it when a small brewery wins Champion Beer at GBBF, murmurings from those at larger breweries who wonder how such a tiny outfit is going to supply the demand that winning will inevitably bring. When Kelham Island won with Pale Rider they dealt with this enviable problem by contracting out part of the brewing to Ridley’s. I think it’s happened with other small breweries. I was reminded of this issue when I came across this paragraph in the course of research I am doing on the International Brewing Competition.
‘Brewers are ultra-conservative… and they object to comparing their wares against each other; besides beer is not an article which admits of
competitive exhibition, its value depending so much on individual tastes;
furthermore our large brewers object to bring their beers into competition with
small brewings (brewers), which however excellent as samples cannot possibly be produced
on a manufacturing scale for the prices at which they have been quoted.’
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Except that this comes from the Brewers’ Guardian October 14, 1879, embedded in an item on the forthcoming National Beer Exhibition and
Market to be held at the Agricultural Hall, Islington (ironically, 129 years later Beer Exposed was to be held at the same site). Nothing really changes does it?