Disclosure: Stuff We Got Free or Were Paid For

This is a list of free samples or other interactions which might be seen to influence how we write about the beer and pub industry. Latest additions are at the top.

Sticky
  • We decided, as of 2015, to stop accepting samples. Any that slip through the net are listed below as usual.
  • Boak currently works for a company which owns a pub in Marazion, among various other business concerns. She isn’t involved in running it but, to avoid potential conflicts of interest, we do not intend to write about it or other pubs in the same town.
  • Boak’s little brother works at Tap East, a bar/brewery in East London.
  • We have written, and continue to write, for the Campaign for Real Ale’s BEER magazine, All About Beer, Beer Advocate magazine and other publications, for money.
  • Aurum Press published our book Brew Britannia. They are part of the Quarto Group which under various imprints publishes books about beer and home brewing.
  • We have a current ongoing contractural relationship with beer writer Tim Webb and are being paid by a company he runs to undertake a substantial piece of work.
2017
  • When Bailey interviewed Paddy and Connor of Bulletproof Brewing in Plymouth they gave him a glass of Maibock to taste. On the same trip the landlady of The Artillery Arms, Stonehouse, gave him a vintage Charrington half-pint mug for which he made a £2 RNLI donation.
  • Ed Wray sent us two bottles of beer as a gift, for academic interest. He works in the beer industry, but not for a brewery.
  • Ron Pattinson sent us a PDF of his new book, Macbeth.
  • While conducting an interview at The Royal Oak, Borough, the landlord caught wind of who we were and insisted on giving us a pint each on the house.
  • Adnams, which has our address on file, sent us two bottles of bourbon-aged Broadside without asking. We’d have said ‘No thanks’ if there had been an email first.
2016
  • We couldn’t say no when David Bruce absolutely insisted on sending us 12 bottles of Firkin Ale (a recreation of his original Dogbolter, we gather) from the West Berkshire Brewery.
  • Dina, @msswiggy on Twitter, sent us two bottles of beer and some bits and pieces as Christmas gift.
  • Barry Masterson, a fellow blogger, sent us a box of his homemade cider and beer and threw in a few bottles of commercial beer as a bonus.
  • Boak accidentally crashed a beer launch event at Tap East while visiting her brother (see above) and was given several samples by a representative of Old Hands Brewing (Twickenham Fine Ales).
  • We met Tim Webb in person and he gave us a copy of the World Atlas of Beer (2nd edn.) as a gift.
  • Rather than buy it secondhand from Amazon, we asked Christopher Routledge if he’d sell us a copy of his 2008 book Cain’s: The Story of Liverpool in a Pint directly; he sent us one for free, so we made a donation to charity instead.
  • We took part in judging at CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival which included a buffet (not a posh one…) and got free tickets to the trade session (at which we bought our own beer and food).
  • In Kent, Martyn Hillier of The Butcher’s Arms, Herne, drove Bailey to a couple of other micropubs. (He paid for his own beer throughout.)
  • Andy Parker, who runs Elusive Brewing, came across a pub selling bottles of vintage Thomas Hardy Ale; he bought one for us and we transferred the cost plus postage and packing. So, not a freebie, but he still did us a favour.
  • Csaba Babak sent us a PDF review copy of his new book Beer Means Business.
  • Freedom sent us three bottles of their prototype pale ale. (We weren’t expecting this and would have said no if they’d contacted us first; we have now asked to be take off their auto-distribution list.)
  • An anonymous benefactor gave us two bottles of a clone brew of Watney’s Red Barrel. They are not employed by a brewery, pub/bar or beer retailer.
  • We attended the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards where we had a couple of glasses of Champagne and some nibbles and they are paying some of our travel expenses. We won a large hamper full of F&M food, a bottle of champagne and a trophy.
  • When we interviewed the proprietors of Crossed Anchors Brewing, Exmouth, Devon, we tasted samples of their beers and they provided lunch.
  • Guy Sheppard of Exe Valley Brewing and SIBA bought us a half each at the Tucker’s Maltings Beer Festival; we bought him a round later. We paid for entry into the first session we attended (£5 each) but were given free entry to the first hour of the session that followed (full cost: £7 each).
  • We were sent a free copy of the pub history supplement from a recent edition of the Stoke Sentinel.
  • We were paid to write a short column on beer blogging for Fuller’s brewery’s in-house newsletter for pub tenants.
  • Adnams sent us a bottle of Ghost Ship and two bobble hats. (They didn’t ask us before sending this package and we weren’t expecting it.)
  • Craig Garvie sent us a bottle of Good King Henry Special Reserve to help with an article we’re writing. He’s not affiliated with the brewery — this was just a gift.
2015
  • The Brewery History Society sent us copies of Devon Pubs and London Brewed so that we could write reviews for its journal.
  • West Berkshire Brewery sent us a 750ml bottle of their 20th anniversary beer.
  • When we interviewed Peter Elvin (Penzance Brewing Company) in November he gave us a couple of drinks each.
  • Three 330ml bottles of beer arrived unexpectedly from Freedom Brewery.
  • Brewhive sent us samples of their range of three beers and one cider (6 X 330ml bottles); plus a bottle opener.
  • PR people representing Jameson sent us a sample of their craft-beer-barrel-aged Irish whiskey along with a can of Beavertown Holy Cowbell India Stout. (In fact, they sent us this package twice by mistake.)
  • Harbour Brewing sent us three cans of their new Antipodean IPA and a couple of unlabelled bottles of barley wine.
  • Mail order beer club Flavourly asked us to try their service and sent us a case of eight beers, bar snacks, a glass and a bottle opener.
  • Cheddar Ales sent us a bottle of their new Hardrock Pale Ale.
  • CAMRA sent us a copy of the new second edition of Des de Moor’s London’s Best Beers & Bars.
  • The Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Suppliers Association (BFBI) sent us a copy of Adrian Tierney-Jones’s book Brewing Champions: A History of the International Brewing Awards.
  • We undertook some paid consultancy for Brewbank, a start-up beer retail business.
  • BrewDog sent us: 1 bottle of Born to Die IPA, 1 bottle of Paradox whisky-aged stout, 1 500ml can of Punk IPA, 1 branded tasting glass, some stickers, some posters (bizarre), a badge and a load of printed marketing material.
  • Bavarian brewery ‘& Union’ [sic] sent us a bottle of their IPA, Friday.
  • PR people represented Celia Lager sent us two bottles of their dark lager.
  • Burning Sky sent us 2 × 330ml bottle of their Saison à la Provision for inclusion in our taste-off.
  • Mark Landells sent us three bottles of Hop Kettle Ginlemlii for our saison-taste-off. (He doesn’t work for the brewery — he’s a fan.)
  • Pilsner Urquell sent us two bottles of their flagship lager in brand new (old) brown glass.
  • BrewDog sent us three bottles of their saison, Electric India. (Not for our saison tasting season, as it happens, but that’s how we’ll use them.)
  • The Beer Hawk, an online beer store, sent us four saisons for consideration in our latest blog series.
  • Adnams sent us two 5-litre mini-kegs of their collaboration with Magic Rock, The Herbalist, a hoppy saison.
  • We undertook some paid copywriting work (history) for Beerbods, an online beer subscription service.
  • Kopparberg’s UK PR people sent us three cans of Fagerhult, their new beer brand. We didn’t think it was especially notable.
  • Guinness’s PR people sent us four bottles of their Brewers’ Project Golden Ale. We didn’t like it.
  • Jacqui Small, a sister company of our publisher Aurum Press, sent us a copy of the new Mikkeller book. (Then sent us a second copy by mistake a few days later.)
  • Phil Lowry at Beer Merchants popped a couple of rare Gadd’s Imperial Stouts into our most recent order.
  • The owners of the Lamp & Whistle in Penzance saved a crate of empty Orval bottles for us.
  • When we visited St Austell on 07/02/2015, Roger Ryman bought us a round of beers in the visitor centre bar.
  • When we visited St Austell Brewery to interview head brewer Roger Ryman, we were given a cup of tea each; several glasses of Gose from the conditioning tank; a half of Proper Job each from the sample room; and tasted two vintage St Austell beers from his own collection.

2014

  • Guinness (their London PR firm) sent us four cans of Guinness Draught and a Christmas pudding (!) in a gift bag.
  • Carlsberg/Fleet Street Communications unexpectedly sent us two bottles of Jacobsen Saaz Blonde Ale to congratulate us on winning the BGBW award.
  • We had a pint with Roger Ryman, head brewer at St Austell; he bought a round, so did we.
  • Harbour Brewing sent us two bottles of their limited edition Bordeaux-barrel-aged Dunkel Bock.
  • When we met beer writer Tim Webb he gave us copies of The Pocket Guide to Beer (2nd Edition) which he co-wrote, the Good Beer Guide to Belgium which he co-wrote and co-published, and Beer in the Netherlands which he edited and published.
  • The prizes we won at the British Guild of Beer Writers awards were sponsored by Molson Coors (£1000) and Brains (£500).
  • Badger (Hall & Woodhouse) sent us six bottles of beer, four of which were in a Christmas gift pack.
  • The PR people representing West Berkshire Brewery sent us three bottles of their newly re-branded beer. (One got smashed on the way.)
  • Tap East hosted a book signing event on 22 November and we got most of the beer we drank on the house.
  • Andy at Redemption was dismayed to read that we’d had a bottle of Fellowship Porter in poor condition and so sent us two bottles from a new batch, along with four other bottles from their range. We will probably blog about this at some point.
  • Harbour Brewing of Bodmin arranged for us to receive 1 × 330ml bottle of their porter. (It arrived too late for inclusion in this taste-off, unfortunately.)
  • Amazon Beer, Brazil, sent us 7 × 355ml bottles from their range.
  • Jacqui Small Publishing, a sister company of our publishers Aurum Press, sent us a copy of Adrian Tierney-Jones’s book World Bottled Beers: 50 Classic Brews to Sip and Savour.
  • Firebox.com sent us six bottles of Fucking Hell, an Austrian lager chiefly prized for a name which amuses English speakers. If it turns out to taste amazingly good, we might write about it. (UPDATE: it’s dreadful.)
  • The Brewery History Society/British Guild of Beer Writers are paying travel expenses for the talk Bailey gave at Hook Norton brewery on 23 October 2014. There was beer and food provided at the event.
  • We undertook some paid copy-editing work on a chapter of the forthcoming English edition of the Mikkeller home brewing book at the request of Jacqui Small, a sister company to our publisher, Aurum Press.
  • Roland at Has Bean Coffee sent us a selection of posh ground coffees after reading this.
  • The Eden Brewery sent us a set (4 × 330ml bottles) of their Withnail beers.
  • Truman’s sent us a 330ml bottle of Ben Truman 1883 Export Pale Ale.
  • We have carried out paid copywriting work for White Rhino Brew Co, a craft brewery based in India.
  • Our Beer Merchants order got topped up with freebies again — three bottles from drygate, a litre-sized can of Oktoberfest beer with glass (!), a couple of random bottles, and a couple of other glasses.
  • Lacon’s of Great Yarmouth sent us four bottles of beer from their new Heritage Range. (Three of the four aren’t usually available in bottles; we think Audit Ale is.)
  • PR people representing Guinness sent us samples of their new porters (three bottles of each).
  • Shepherd Neame sent us a copy of John Owen’s book The Emergence of Shepherd Neame from the Earliest Days of Brewing in Faversham Kent.
  • Apple Press, who are part of the Quarto Group along with our publishers, Aurum, sent us a copy of Wisdom for Home Brewers by Ted Bruning and Nigel Sadler, due out on 4 September.
  • Our most recent order from Beer Merchants got topped up with some freebies, much to our surprise.
  • When we spoke at the Birmingham Beer Bash in July, we were given free entry and our beer was on the house.
  • The Kings Arms, Bethnal Green, hosted a book launch event for us and provided us with complimentary drinks and food.
  • Various bars/breweries helped us with our book launch. We appeared at various venues on our Grand Tour, but we were not paid, and did not pay anyone.
  • Eeebria.com sent us a mixed case of beer so that we could try out their service. We have mentioned one or two of the beers in reviews, disclosing in footnotes on those posts.
  • Kirkstall Brewery produced a beer to a broad recipe specification we supplied, but we weren’t involved in brewing it.
  • David Bruce is re-brewing Dogbolter at the West Berkshire Brewery to coincide with the book launch.
  • On our northern book tour (18-22 May) we were given some drinks on the house at Port Street Beer House and at North Bar. Zak Avery of Beer Ritz bought us a pint each, and his colleage Will bought us a couple of beers, too. When we talked at Hallamshire House, our drinks for the evening were paid for (unexpectedly) by Thornbridge Brewery.
  • We are working with beerhawk.co.uk on putting together a themed case of beers to accompany the launch of our book. We’re not being paid except for royalties on the books they’re buying. They are also providing two cases as prizes in a competition we’re running on the blog.
  • Oddbins sent us two bottles of ‘No 2’ brewed for them by Compass of Oxfordshire. We haven’t tasted it yet.
  • Williams Bros sent us a mixed case of beers from their range (X12).
  • The Guardian paid us to write a piece about the globalisation of beer for their ‘Comment is Free’ blog section.
  • Palgrave Macmillan sent us a copy of Steve (Brooklyn Brewery) Hindy’s book The Craft Beer Revolution. We haven’t decided yet if it’s appropriate for us to review it.
  • The West Berkshire Brewery sent us samples of three of their bottled beers. We haven’t written about these yet.
  • Black Forest Beers who distribute German lager brand Rothaus in the UK sent us six beers from the range. We wrote about them here.
  • The Wetherspoon’s pub chain sent us three cans of beer from Sixpoint of New York which they’ll be selling from March onward. We haven’t written a full review but mentioned them here.
  • Lacon’s of Great Yarmouth sent us one bottle of each of three beers to help with research into the article we’re writing for Craft Beer Rising magazine.
  • Beer52.com sent us a sample of one of their monthly selection boxes containing eight bottles of beer, from Grain, Point, Tickety Brew, Barney’s Beer, Top Out, Church Farm and Oakham. We haven’t written about this yet.
  • Ron Pattinson’s publishers sent us a copy of his Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer. We wrote about it here.
  • The Campaign for Real Ale sent us a copy of Michael Larson’s The Beer Select-o-Pedia. Our review is here.
  • Craft Beer Rising magazine commissioned us to write a piece for the summer issue. We are being paid for this.
  • Blogger and home brewer Andy Parker, who has plans to go pro with his Elusive Brewing brand, sent us a bottle of Anspach & Hobday Porter because he loved it and wanted us to try it. We liked it and Tweeted about it here.
  • Hawkshead Brewery sent us three bottles of beer bottled in-house on their new micro-bottling line. We wrote about them here.
  • Because of our particular interest in beer brewed to historic recipes, Westerham Brewery sent us bottles of their Audit Ale and historic Double Stout, along with five other beers from their range. We wrote about them here and here.

2013

  • The revived Truman’s brewery sent us a bottle of their London Keeper export stout. We wrote about it here.
  • Paul Walsh sent us an electronic copy of his new magazine, Belgian Beer & Food, which we wrote about here. We then paid for a subscription.
  • AFTER we had reviewed their book here and in the journal of the Brewery History Society, we met three of the authors of Government Intervention in the Brewing Industry to talk around the subject, and they bought us a couple of pints each.
  • The Campaign for Real Ale paid us to write an article in their ‘real ale heroes’ series.
  • Jacqui Small publishing, which is a sister company of our publisher Aurum Press, sent us a copy of Ben McFarland’s Boutique Beers. We haven’t decided yet whether it’s less ethical to review it or not to review it, given conflicts of interest.
  • Northern Monk Brew Co (now without David Bishop) sent us a bottle of their Strannik Imperial Stout. One of us liked it, the other didn’t. We didn’t write about it.
  • A PR company working for Sainsbury’s sent us six bottles of beer from their Great British Beer Hunt (from Bateman’s, Gower Brewery, Hardknott, Hilden, Hunter’s, Williams Brothers).
  • Evan Rail sent us a copy of his ebook Triple Bock.
  • The Beer Boutique saw that we were getting frustrated with online beer store interfaces and offered us a 25% discount to entice us to give them a go. The discount was not exclusive to us.
  • Fordham Brewing Company sent us six bottles of beer. We blogged about one of them here.
  • Northern Monk Brew Co (David ‘Broadford Brewery’ Bishop) sent us a bottle of New World IPA. We wrote about it on our Facebook page.
  • Our publisher, Aurum Press, arranged for us to receive an electronic review copy of Tom Acitelli’s book The Audacity of Hops for research purposes.
  • Leigh Linley, a fellow blogger and author of Great Yorkshire Beers, gave us three bottles of beer and two secondhand books as a gift when we met him in Leeds.
  • On our research trip to Sheffield and the North: Simon Webster at Thornbridge Brewery gave us a copy of their book, Craft Union; Richard Morrice at People Energies (a  PR firm) bought Bailey a bagel; Thornbridge gave Bailey a glass of Scotch ale from a fermenting vessel; Christian and John at North Bar in Leeds bought us a couple of halves of bitter; and Stuart Ross of Magic Rock bought us a few beers while we interviewed him. (We bought him some, too….)
  • Dog’n’Bone sent us a copy of Mark Dredge’s Craft Beer World. (We reviewed it here.)
  • When we went to interview them for our book, the Wild Beer Company gave us tasters of several beers, and a box of assorted bottles to take away. We also bought two bottles of Ninkasi.
  • The Sebright Arms sent us a sample of their Pure Evil black IPA brewed with Redchurch Brewery.
  • Bath Ales sent us one bottle of Gem and one of Rare Hare. We haven’t blogged about these.
  • Kevin Bagshaw sent us two bottles of his award-winning home brew.
  • Ed Wray of the Old Dairy Brewery sent us a nearly-complete collection of CAMRA Good Beer Guides to help us with our book.
  • Darren Norbury was sent samples of Fuller’s Vintage and Brewer’s Reserve and passed a bottle of each on to us.
  • We attended a ‘sample sharing’ tasting session organised by Darren Norbury at which we tried beer from Wells and Young’s, Rebel Brewing Company and Harbour Brewing, free of charge. We blogged about the Rebel and Harbour beers here.
  • Comida’s PR firm sent us a sample of La Soccarada which we blogged about here.
  • Shepherd Neame sent us bottles of their India Pale Ale, Double Stout and 1698. We didn’t think 1698 or the IPA tasted right and have told the brewery; the Double Stout was OK, but we won’t be blogging about it.; we blogged about all this here.

2012

  • Ed Wray sent us four bottles of beer from the Old Dairy Brewery just before Christmas. We haven’t drunk them yet.
  • We received a sample of Bateman’s Vintage Ale. We wrote about this here.
  • We received a sample of Shepherd Neame’ Christmas Ale. We wrote about this here.
  • We were given two trade tickets to the Great British Beer Festival by CAMRA in August.
  • Ed Wray sent us some small samples of brewers’ invert sugar for reference; we sent Ed a bottle of our 1912 Cornish Stout.
  • St Austell sent us a 750ml bottle of Big Job double IPA. We blogged about it here.
  • St Austell also gave us “VIP” tickets to the 2012 Celtic Beer festival (free entry, free beer from a limited range). We paid for some of the beer we tried at the festival. We have written about it here.
  • Aurum Publishing sent us a copy of Britain’s Lost Breweries by Chris Arnot. We didn’t blog about this.
  • Dominic Driscoll at Thornbridge sent us some E150 caramel colouring for use in brewing a historical beer recipe.
  • We received a sample of Fresh Hop from the Old Dairy Brewery. (We liked it and Tweeted about it.)
  • We received the gift of a book about yeast from Dominic Driscoll at Thornbridge because we wrote this. We have not blogged about this.
  • We sent a bottle of homebrewed beer to Dominic at Thornbridge, receiving a bottle of Thornbridge beer in return. We have not blogged about this.
  • We received a gift pack of Belgian beers from Giftsofeurope.com. (We have not blogged about this but have given them feedback.)
  • We received four bottles of beer from Sainsbury’s PR, in relation to their Great British Beer Hunt. We blogged about them here.
  • We received samples from Grain Brewery which we took to this tasting session.
  • At that tasting session and another earlier in the year we tried beers from Wadworth’s, Sharp’s, St Austell, Rebel and several other breweries; those samples weren’t sent to us, but nor did we pay for them, and we have referred to them on the blog and on Twitter.
  • We received a bottle of Flat Cap Beers ‘Ted’. We blogged about it here.
  • We received several bottles of an early ‘test’ version of Harbour Brewing IPA. We did not blog about these but gave them feedback.
  • We received four bottles of beer from Brewdog’s PR company (2X Punk IPA, Hardcore, Zeitgeist). We did not blog about these, though we have frequently mentioned Brewdog on Twitter and our blog.
  • We received a bottle of Sharp’s Eden Project Cornish Pilsner from the Eden Project for possible inclusion in the talk we gave there. We did not blog about this.
  • We received a review copy of The Homebrew Handbook from Cico publishing. We did not blog about this but gave the publisher feedback.
  • We’ve never received any samples from St Austell but they did let us spend a day looking at their historic brewing records.
  • We exchanged bottles of homebrewed beer with David Bishop.
  • We received bottles of homebrewed beer from Andrew Drinkwater.
  • We received a free copy of Evan Rail’s Kindle book Why Beer Matters which we Tweeted about.
  • Boak’s little brother works at Tap East, Stratford, having applied for the job when we pointed out the advertisement to him. (We have blogged about Tap East here.)
  • Ed Wray sent us bottles of two beers he’d brewed to historic recipes. (We blogged about them here.)
  • Greene King sent us samples of their new IPA variations. (We wrote about them here.)

Before 2012 Regrettably, we weren’t as thorough in taking notes back then, but we recall receiving samples from:

  • Bath Ales
  • Brodie’s
  • Badger (Hall & Woodhouse)
  • Purity
  • Brewdog
  • Martyn Cornell (Amber, Gold & Black in ebook form)
  • Pete Brown (Hops and Glory)
  • Jacqui Small (Ben McFarland’s World’s Best Beers)
  • Fearless Critic Media (The Beer Trials)
  • CAMRA (Great British Beer Festival trade tickets)
  • Beer Exposed tickets
  • ALDI (Shepherd Neame Christmas beer).

Notes 1. We accept samples on the understanding that (a) we might not write about the product at all and (b) that if we do, our comments might not be favourable. Some PR people choose not to send samples at this point, which is fine with us. 2. If we don’t blog about product, it is usually because (a) the sample was provided for the purposes of giving pre-production feedback; (b) we didn’t find it very interesting — there was nothing to say about it; or (c) we didn’t like it, but couldn’t find a way to say so which seemed interesting/constructive. 3. We have not listed here gifts from friends and relatives. We will usually disclose in any post mentioning those beers whether we paid for them (free beer tastes better…) but don’t consider those in the same class as samples from manufacturers.

10 thoughts on “Disclosure: Stuff We Got Free or Were Paid For”

    1. To be fair, you did make repeated calls for anyone who wanted to be on your list to provide a mailing address… and we didn’t.

  1. I have great memories of adds when I was a little unn, of Manns Brown ale, recently I saw it on sale in suppermarket for £1 a 550ml bottle, my quest now is to find it for salwe.on draught in pubs, Scotland , Glasgow area, can you help me to see if this is a possability.
    Billy

    1. Billy — sadly, I don’t think it’s available on draught. Not sure it ever has been, actually, brown ale generally being a bottled specialty.

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