Blogging and writing bottled beer

Points of View

Our post about sink-pour gift shop beer prompted a few responses from other bloggers which we thought we’d round up here.

First, Jenni Nicholls of the recently closed Northcote Brewery wrote a helfpul and positive piece highlighting some beers from Norfolk that she thinks are worth drinking.

Nate rightly identified that our post wasn’t really about Norfolk and then got angry at people who chose to take it that way. (Much anger in this one, there is.)

Tandleman found himself thinking about his own approach to naming and shaming and (like us) decided that it was a matter of judging each case on its own merits, but that no-one deserves a public humiliation on the basis of one bad bottle or pint.

Kristy McCready questioned our suggestion that bigger or better established brewers are fair game for public criticism, suggesting that the best approach is always to focus on the positives. Being ignored, she suggests, is punishment enough. She also gave an excellent summary of the point we were trying to make — that we suspect a handful of brewers are driven by a desire for a slice of the tourist take rather than a love of beer.

Although we’d write that post differently today, we’re glad, at least, that it gave other people food for thought.

6 replies on “Points of View”

I found myself slagging off some finest yeast in a bottle (and naming the brewery) but it occurred to me that I could just as easily have sent them a letter/email.

Taking it back to the shop is awkward unless you drink it almost straight away, which with BCA’s isn’t best practice. And then there’s the receipt.

There has to be some fault laid at the door of a brewer who doesn’t rigorously sample their wares before being confident of sellling them, but I recognise I am guilty of not providing the feedback that might benefit them. If you write first, this kind of removes the thorny naming issue altogether (unless they don’t reply!)

I would be interested in knowing how you would write this differently. You are not, as I understand, in thrall to Norfolk in any way. And you have described an experience accurately. I am unfamiliar with the selling of beer through tourist trap shops but I would have thought that warning people off buying beer in the tourist trap shops of Norfolk was as good a subject matter as any. I appreciate that you may feel that you snookered yourself by apparently shaming generally where you tried to avoid shaming specifically but that is one of those logical consequences that are always out there waiting to grab at the ankles. You are not their unpaid PR firm with a duty to cover one eye as you walk through the world.

Probably as simply as either (a) toning down the outrage or (b) not specifying Norfolk.

On (a), as you’ve pointed out yourself, it’s perfectly possible to convey a bad experience without being shrill or over-emphatic.

As for (b), the point would have been better made without naming the county. This is not a problem specific to, or even more likely to occur in, Norfolk.

As for unpaid PR… well, we’re not being paid to provide feedback and consultancy either, are we?

Fair enough – I might have shied from Norfolkness, too. Certainly will not seeing as the shire’s economy tips on the balance of tourist trap ales. Perhaps a guide to the sale of such ales is in order – a short best before date, the need for a fridge, skipping the one caked in dust sitting in the front window…

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