Various bits of beer news in the last few months have prompted a fresh round of declarations that the good times are over, the hangover is coming, the ‘shake out’ is due.
It’s certainly true that after a decade when it felt like the news was almost entirely good — new bars, new breweries, more beer styles! — there has been a bit of a dip in levels of excitement.
Our gut feeling is that it’s overly pessimistic to assume everything is about to come crashing down and that the gloominess is to some extent personal: people are exhausted and bored. (See also: the death of beer blogging.)
Having said that, it is also likely that some ventures commenced in the white heat of 2010-11 are reaching their natural end. That is to say, they’ve either succeeded, in which case they’ve ceased to be new and exciting, have settled into a groove, or perhaps even been sold on; or they’ve folded because the people behind them have run out of money and/or steam, or just want to try their hands at something else.
Our contribution to the collective fretting, which we hope will provide a picture of what’s going on and help maintain perspective, is a table of good and bad news which we hereby commit to keeping up to date throughout the next year.
Please do get in touch if there are things you think need to be recorded on either side — specialist bars opening or closing, breweries folding, and so on. We’re especially interested in total brewery numbers for Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester, if anyone has those at hand.
So far, a week into January 2017, it doesn’t look so bad. But let’s see.