Why no London brewing museum?

lamppost.jpgThe reopen­ing today of the Lon­don Trans­port Muse­um in Covent Gar­den has made me won­der why there’s no muse­um of brew­ing in the cap­i­tal.

Sure, indi­vid­ual brew­eries around the coun­try have their own muse­ums, and Coors/Bass have the best claim to run­ning the nation­al muse­um of brew­ing in Bur­ton Upon Trent.

But there’s noth­ing in Lon­don. The whole city is, in effect, a muse­um of brew­ing, but it would be nice to see key arti­facts brought togeth­er in one place (the old Tru­man Brew­ery on Brick Lane, for exam­ple) to tell the fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ry of brew­ing in this city.

Fail­ing that, though, what about an exhi­bi­tion at the excel­lent but occa­sion­al­ly over­looked Muse­um of Lon­don? That has a great “Vic­to­ri­an street”, includ­ing a pub, and some great stuff in the archives, so they’re halfway there already.

Update: I won­der if this sto­ry on Hop Talk might not have sub­con­scious­ly influ­enced my think­ing?

7 thoughts on “Why no London brewing museum?”

  1. It’s astound­ing that there’s not a muse­um of brew­ing any­where in Lon­don! I sup­pose that as a Bur­ton on Trent local I take the Coors Vis­i­tor Cen­tre (or Bass Muse­um as locals still call it) for grant­ed but it’s cer­tain­ly one of the first places that friends who are vis­it­ing the area want to go and see.

  2. Oh yes, the brew­ers would love that: a muse­um ded­i­cat­ed all the com­pa­nies and beers that they’ve suc­cess­ful­ly manged to kill off. Brew­ers tend to trade on tra­di­tion a lot on their mar­ket­ing. They like peo­ple to think that things were only ever thus. You could almost say they’re the oppo­site of the trans­port indus­try that way.

    I’d say that some­one set­ting up this sort of estab­lish­ment (which would indeed be fab­u­lous) could expect no help from any brew­er still trad­ing. Among the first vis­i­tors would be lawyers tak­ing note of the use of copy­right mate­r­i­al and trade­marks.

  3. I can’t imag­ine that a lawyer could stop a muse­um dis­play­ing a trade­marked item, as long as they weren’t sell­ing t-shirts with it on or any­thing. Equal­ly, the fair use law on use of copy­right mate­r­i­al should see them OK if they want­ed to quote from books, adver­tise­ments and so on. Acad­e­mia and muse­ums are pret­ty well pro­tect­ed by the law.

    But, yes, it would have to be a for­ward-think­ing brew­ery that would stump up the cash for a muse­um which high­lights their own dodgi­ness and which also pro­motes their com­peti­tors.

    And with the cur­rent cam­paigns against “binge drink­ing”, it’d prob­a­bly also be a strug­gle to get any cash off the Gov­ern­ment or the May­or.

  4. I didn’t even get to the lazy binge-drink­ing asso­ci­a­tions in the gut­ter press and the Do We Real­ly Want This Sort Of Thing? opin­ion pieces from Con­cerned Cit­i­zens. W*****s. And yes, you’d be damned lucky to get any pub­lic mon­ey for it as well.

    Would CAMRA be at all inter­est­ed in run­ning some­thing like this?

  5. Indeed, as long as they’re the orig­i­nals, as Bai­ley says above, you couldn’t. How­ev­er, big-brand­ed com­pa­nies tend to be very sen­si­tive about how their prod­uct is pre­sent­ed and will use any excuse to shut down what they would regard as unau­tho­rised use.

    Claim­ing that the museum’s use of trade­marked mate­r­i­al con­sti­tutes an attempt to imply an endorse­ment of the muse­um by the brew­er might be worth a punt in court. If you have a good enough lawyer, natch.

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