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 replies on “Fictional Breweries”

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”?


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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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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