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News, Nuggets and Longreads 08/03/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

This little lot ought to see you through breakfast, second breakfast and a few mugs of char.

→ The issue of the week has been, without doubt, the arrival of cans of American ‘craft beer’ in Wetherspoon pubs, with posts from Tandleman, Zak Avery, Richard Taylor, Justin Mason, Nathaniel Southwood and no doubt many others. But David ‘Broadford Brewer’ Bishop cut through the fog of commentary rather effectively:

→ A trademark dispute blew up between regional giant Everards  and tiny Scottish start-up Elixir on Tuesday. Richard Taylor broke the story, outrage ensued, Everard’s backed down. Denzil Vallance at Great Heck Brewing provided an ‘inside the industry’ perspective. We just mumbled this at the back of the class (Facebook):

If Everard’s had a core beer called Elixir, it might make some kind of sense (though it would still be a PR fail), but all this over a one-off seasonal from two years ago? Really?… As always, when we’ve only heard one side of the story, it doesn’t pay to get too strident — for all we know, Everard’s may be gearing up to launch Elixir as a national brand… Nonetheless, it does seem that their PR/social media people are operating on autopilot, as, perhaps, are their lawyers, and they haven’t come out of this looking good so far.

→ Connor Murphy filed a late entry for #beerylongreads asking whether the explosion in the number of breweries in the UK has dragged down quality across the board. The comments from Rob Lovatt at Thornbridge are especially interesting: ‘Many of the smaller, new breweries in the UK will be bottling beer by hand. This will invariably result in massively high oxygen levels and the beer will literally fall apart in weeks.’

→ (Our summary of all the ‘go long’ posts from last weekend is here, by the way.)

→  On a similarly downbeat note, David Turner continues his exploration of what causes breweries to fail with another data driven blog post, this time using Ratebeer reviews to conclude that (perhaps unsurprisingly) breweries whose beer is less well-regarded are more likely to fail.

→ Kevan Wilding announced that, after 10 years work, he thinks that around 98% of pubs that exist or have existed in London are catalogued in detail on his epic Dead Pubs website. It’s a great resource and worth a browse.

→ Yeast-obsessed eggheads: you might be interested to know that the genome sequence of Saccharomyces carlsbergensis is now available online.  (Via David Quain of Heriot-Watt University.)

→ And, finally, this post from the Belfast Barman blog offers a sobering perspective on prospects for ‘mainstreaming’ multi-tap craft beer bar culture:

I am not giving up on my mini craft crusade… But until the taste buds of the province begin to catch up with our more experimental neighbours, I fear it’s a hard sell.

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