Blogging and writing

Long Articles About Beer for May 2013

Cain's brewery logo

1. ‘Cain’s: the final chapter?’  and ‘Chapter 9: Full Circle’ by Chris Routledge

Routledge wrote Cain’s: the Story of Liverpool in a Pint and has followed the ups and downs of the brewery under the Dusanj brothers throughout the last decade. Now, as it looks as if it might finally be on its last legs, he offers a sort-of-insider’s view of the current crisis (actually not that long…) which is best read alongside the chapter from his 2008 book to which it refers.

Richard Marx

2. ‘Right Here Waiting’ by Edward McLelland

We found this through either Longreads or Longform — we can’t remember which — and enjoyed it for two reasons: first, because it’s a funny story about a journalist winding up a touchy local celebrity but, secondly, and more importantly, because of the lovely pen portrait of a Chicago bar and the universal struggle to become ‘a regular’.

Truman's ales sign, East London.

3. ‘When Brick Lane was Home to the Biggest Brewery in the World’ by Martyn Cornell

The king of the longform beer article doesn’t really do short. This piece tells the story of Truman, Hanbury & Buxton and its colossal ‘Black Eagle’ brewery in the East End of London from beginning (1683?) to today.

Brewdog bottle label.

4. ‘Byron, Brewdog, and the recuperation of radical aesthetics’ by Jonathan Moses

Moses is a left-wing political activist and teacher and so has an interesting perspective on Brewdog and what he calls their ‘aversion to association with the corporate market’.

Pub saved by irony

5. ‘The Pub That Was Saved by Irony’ by The Gentle Author (Spitalfields Life)

How an architectural heritage museum wanted to demolish a Victorian pub, and the campaign to save it, juxtaposed with the memories of George Barker who grew up in the Marquis of Lansdowne before World War II.

We read articles like this using Pocket. Beer writers and bloggers: why not stretch out and write something loooooooong?

8 replies on “Long Articles About Beer for May 2013”

That’s ironic about Cains b/c I only just saw them on store shelves in the last four weeks or so (Boston, MA, USA area). Don’t see a lot of Dark Mild beers around here, so it stuck out.

thanks for the pocket rec. Just opened an account. As for long….well, it’s got to be worthwhile, hasn’t it! These are cracking examples, though – hope I find such gold.

“The king of the longform beer article” – yeah, but that Truman’s piece was TOO long, 14,000 words. It’s only had 1,300-odd reads so far, while the latest post, on Australian IPA, a mere 1,100 words, got more than that on the first day. I certainly find it difficult to write anything less than 1,000 words, and about 2,500 is probably my norm. I notice the articles you link to all seem to be 2,000-3,000 words – anything much over 4,000 words, in my experience, simply ain’t gonna be read: people only have so much time.

Martyn — but you’ll probably find that the long posts get more visits over time, appearing at hte top of search results because they are comprehensive and authoritative, whereas the shorter, more topical pieces will create a buzz and then their views will drop off. (Though you might have stats which indicate otherwise already.)

Barm — increasingly, where we read anything over, say, 800 words using Pocket on phones/tablets, on train journeys or whatever, it would be great to have a single page ‘longform’ version of split posts.

On the whole, there are blog posts (short, snappy, one or two points to make) and there are articles, and both have their place.

I find the longer stuff does get more visits over time, but only if it’s in the form of a page, not a blog post. I think the search engines assume blog posts get less relevant over time, whereas pages have ongoing significance. This just from my observations though, not empirical testing.

That was quite an article by Jonathan Moses and I’m still trying to figure out large parts of it. I don’t think there is anything really different about the bohemian look or appeal to many current consumer companies and their associated branding. It’s just an age-old process of business – capitalism – adapting to new generations, new perceived needs and interests. Thus, at one time a chain such as the Davy wine bar chain focused on Victoriana recreations because that was popular and indeed never really goes away when you think of it (the 7% solution, hansom cabs, gaslights, Dickens, that iconography will always be with us). Then for a time you saw many bars done in a cool urban style, spare and understated, e.g. All Bar One, and indeed some of the Davy’s went that way (the F.O.B. near Monument, although I liked it better before). There was also the (related) industrial chic mode, which I think started in San Francisco in the 50’s when the Spaghetti Factory got going and Ghiardelli Square was developed. Isn’t Camden Lock an early and very successful English example? Whole Foods in the U.S. and Apple Computers latched on to peoples’ desire for authenticity and individuality, the “off-centered” look about it all which became a byword of some U.S. brewers was a variation of earlier people-friendly campaigns, just as probably the “bug” ads of Volkswagen were in the 60’s. Really it’s just business cottoning to the perceived needs and interests of the time.


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