When the drays roll out of Paine’s Brewery into the market square of St Neots, Cambridgeshire, with 612 gallons of Silver Jubilee Ale on board, a young lady will smack her lips in the knowledge of a job well done… She is Fiona McNish — an unlikely name for an unlikely lady in an unlikely profession… She is one of the elite in the brewing industry. She tastes beer.
This Daily Express article from 21 February 1977 hinged on the idea that it was hilarious that a woman — a 23-year-old woman at that — should know anything whatsoever about beer. But the important thing — what all 1970s readers wanted to know — was whether she was sexy. Good news!
Fiona, long brown hair, topographical as the Alps, a very feminine lady, has worked her way deep into male territory.
Good grief. When they stopped laughing at her and eyeing her up, and actually let her speak, Ms McNish came out with a nugget of wisdom which holds up pretty well today:
There is nothing mysterious about beer… It either tastes good or bad. You don’t need to be a genius to tell which. Just thoughtful and honest.