Fictional Breweries

queenvic_pillar_large.jpgA minor fas­ci­na­tion of mine is how dra­mas sup­pos­ed­ly set in the real world rou­tine­ly invent Lon­don Bor­oughs (Wal­ford, Sun­hill) or whole towns up north (Weath­er­field, Wether­ton). But, of course, I’m always par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in fic­tion­al brew­eries.

Coro­na­tion Street has New­ton and Rid­ley, while, in Eas­t­en­ders’ Queen Vic­to­ria you’ll only ever get a pint of Lux­ford and Cop­ley. In real­i­ty, the Queen Vic would be a Wether­spoons.

The amount of detail that pro­duc­ers devise for these brew­eries and the pubs they sup­pos­ed­ly own or sup­ply is astound­ing. There’s a web page here which seems to be on its last legs, but where, for the moment, you can see some of the care that goes into the Eas­t­en­ders set. Lux­ford and Cop­ley’s ales are, you’ll all be pleased to note, cask con­di­tioned…

The weird­est of them all, though, is Emmerdale, whose fic­tion­al brew­ery “Ephraim Monk” seem to have missed out on the license to brew the soap’s offi­cial beer. Instead, it’s pro­duced by Black Sheep.

11 thoughts on “Fictional Breweries”

  1. Ok. Very inter­est­ing post. A bit depress­ing that they would­n’t choose real brew­eries…

    But I’ve got an unre­lat­ed ques­tion. I bought a pint of Black Sheep here in the USA and it was so ter­ri­ble that I poured it down the drain. God-awful. The only beer that I’ve actu­al­ly tak­en the time to write to the brew­ery about. I nev­er heard a response, but I’m won­der­ing if this was an anom­aly? Because of the trans-Atlantic trav­el or some­thing? Could you clue me in on this “Black Sheep”?

    Thanks–

  2. Jonathan, we don’t real­ly go in for prod­uct place­ment in TV dra­ma like you see in the States – par­tic­u­lar­ly on the BBC.

    What I dont get about Eas­t­en­ders is that they’re per­fect­ly will­ing to show cer­tain brand­ed beers in the Vic – Mark Fowler famous­ly drank bot­tles of Beck­’s – but per­sist in hav­ing total­ly unre­al­is­tic pumps from this imag­i­nary brew­ery. No Carls­berg, no Guin­ness, no Stel­la, no Mag­n­er’s – that’s the shit peo­ple would be drink­ing. No won­der Peg­gy’s wor­ried about her busi­ness.

    On Coro­na­tion Street, I notice they have pret­ty much every­one drink­ing cask bit­ter, though in real­i­ty it’s cold tea…

    Jonathan – I assume your pint of Black Sheep from a bot­tle or keg – if so it will have been pas­teurised and fil­tered. Nev­er good for a beer as you know, but total­ly tears the heart out of low ABV Eng­lish bit­ters. Our ale styles are best enjoyed fresh from the cask in a good pub, and the bot­tled ver­sions are almost almost very poor in com­par­i­son.

  3. Jonathan – I gath­er that the rea­son they don’t use real brew­eries is because TV shows (espe­cial­ly those on the BBC, which is fund­ed through a levy on view­ers) can’t be seen to be pro­mot­ing one prod­uct over anoth­er. Even when you do see some­one drink­ing what looks like a well known brand, they’ve often put a new label on with a made-up name, e.g. Mark Fowler’s Becks was prob­a­bly labelled “Braun’s Ger­man Lager” or some­thing.

    Black Sheep is gen­er­al­ly reck­oned to be OK, and I’ve got one friend who drinks hard­ly any­thing else. Hav­ing said that, I’ve had bad pints of cask-con­di­tioned Black Sheep here in Lon­don (real­ly bad – like sour apple juice) and that’s only trav­elled a few hun­dred miles from York­shire, so maybe it is par­tic­u­lar­ly del­i­cate?

    Stonch – I have to say that I don’t gen­er­al­ly mind bot­tled ales, assum­ing they’re fresh and so on. I some­times even pre­fer them. Bot­tles are a nice con­trolled envi­ron­ment, with­out the vari­abil­i­ty intro­duced by poor land­lords, bad cel­lars and what have you, so are often more reli­able. A nice pint of Lon­don Pride in a well kept pub is a thing of won­der, but I prob­a­bly would­n’t be able to tell the dif­fer­ence between that and the bot­tled ver­sion, if I’m hon­est.

  4. Bai­ley – if we’re talk­ing bot­tle con­di­tioned beers, I agree com­plete­ly – you put it very well (“a nice con­trolled envi­ron­ment, with­out the vari­abil­i­ty intro­duced by poor land­lords”). I’m talk­ing about the pas­teurised stuff, though, and most of our beer – par­tic­u­lar­ly the stuff export­ed to the States – has suf­fered that treat­ment.

  5. real­ly bad — like sour apple juice”

    That’s exact­ly what this bot­tle tast­ed like… del­i­cate indeed. Too del­i­cate for me to pur­chase anoth­er bot­tle. Thanks for the com­men­tary.

  6. Stonch – I guess I’m con­fess­ing to lik­ing even the pas­teurised stuff, if it’s not so old that it’s gone stale. Bot­tle con­di­tioned is bet­ter, invari­ably, but then some­thing like Lon­don Pride is beau­ti­ful bot­tled, despite being fil­tered, pas­teurised and pumped full of CO2.

  7. Jonathan, you prob­a­bly did not like the beer because it had taste as opposed to amer­i­can beer that has no taste.

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