Tuesday 14 January 2014

Brewers’ gripes

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?

Wednesday 1 January 2014




Drink because you enjoy it, drink because you want to be with friends; drink with travellers who turn up in your pub, eager to know what the local beer tastes like; drink because you accept and enjoy the song of nature, the watery sky of January, the clear piping sound of bird song in January, the placid waters of life’s quiet moments, the end of the busy day; drink because Phlebas the Phoenician has been a fortnight dead; drink because you thought that death had not undone so many; drink because all’s well that ends well, because in the morning the school of well-being will open its doors, and when it rains you can forget about the rain and carry on drinking; drink on the idle of hill of summer, warm and drowsy, ready to range the world, drink for god’s sake; drink for the wintery haw is burning out of season and you must drink; drink, imbibe, swallow, but all the time enjoy.

Drink: not because people tell you to but drink because you want to.