Disclosure: Stuff We Got Free

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:  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.


  • STICKY: various bars/breweries are helping us out with our Grand Book Promotion Tour. We’ll share specifics as soon as possible, but we’re not currently intending to take payment for appearing or speaking.
  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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).


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”

    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.

    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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Writing about beer and pubs since 2007