News, Nuggets and Longreads 22/03/2014

Bloke drinking beer.

Hello you!

→ Several books of note have been released or are due soon: Joe Stange and Tim Webb’s Good Beer Guide to Belgium is on our wish list (out now) as is Randy Mosher’s Mastering Home Brew (due on 1 April).

→ Max ‘Pivni Filosof’ Bahnson has posted the first in a series of posts revisiting Prague brewpubs now he is older, wiser and (it’s probably fair to say) more cynical.

→ Saved to Pocket for reading later this week: a history of breweries in Richmond, Virginia (probably via Tom Cizauskas — we must keep better notes) and this 2000+ word piece in which Emma interviews some fellow home brewers about their methods and inspiration.

→ The owners of Ellenberg, a new London brewery which shared a premises with Weird Beard, have announced that they will be winding it down. A harbinger of the ‘shake out’ people have been predicting? No, we don’t think so — just natural ‘churn’.

→ Meanwhile, James Wilson is departing from Tap East, also in London, leaving  a vacancy for a brewer:

While a formal brewing and packaging qualification would be useful it is not essential.  However, there must be evidence that the applicant has the skills to brew.  These could have been developed as a Home Brewer.

→ Though we’re firmly of the belief that the Campaign for Real Ale needs to change if it’s to thrive in the long run, this did make us laugh:

→ We’ve updated our post about Starkey, Knight & Ford in light of new information received through correspondence in the Brewery History Society newsletter.

10 replies on “News, Nuggets and Longreads 22/03/2014”

Thanks for the mention, but I can’t take credit for the nice piece on Richmond breweries. (Only the Twitter-linking to it.) The article was actually written by Mike Gormon, a contributor to RVA Magazine, a Richmond periodical. By the way, U.K. readers: that would be Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.

Though we’re firmly of the belief that the Campaign for Real Ale needs to change if it’s to thrive in the long run

Mmmyeah… why, exactly? I don’t mean why CAMRA ought to change in principle – I’d probably agree with that argument, or most of it – but why they should need to. Thriving hasn’t been a problem for CAMRA over the last few years, after all. So why should we expect whatever it is that’s evidently working for CAMRA now to stop working and go into reverse?

Because, I guess, based purely on our own experience, what they’re doing now does nothing to entice us into volunteering, attending meetings, etc. Ageing active membership.

Yes, but if the younger membership is expanding they’ve got an ever-increasing pool of members to draw on to replace the old foggers when they eventually hang up their tankards. You don’t need to invent a whole new way of doing CAMRA activism, just find the small minority of people who are into doing it the way it’s done now – and the larger your pool of members, the easier that will be. (It’s only a small minority of people who are ever into being an active anything – anything organisational, anyway.)

I’m making the assumption here that the new membership is mostly young; that may be wrong, but there’s bound to be a fair chunk of 20- and 30-somethings. And “we need to replace these 10 60-year-old activists out of this pool of 1000 under-30s” doesn’t strike me as that big a problem. If it was a pool of 50 under-30s, that would be a problem – but in that case the problem would be the declining membership.

Maybe you’re right. That’s just what we reckon, which doesn’t really matter. We’ll have to wait and see.

The other possibility – or nightmare scenario? – is that we’re both right: CAMRA has got a problem (to do with ignoring a lot of what’s happened in the last decade) but the membership numbers are good enough that it can afford to ignore it. There are lots of real ale drinkers out there who think that Hobgoblin t-shirt is hilarious – and think Hobgoblin’s a great beer, come to that.

Comments are closed.