A little while after the UK launch, copies of Brew Britannia have finally begun to make their way out across the world, and two recent reviews from the US provide food for thought.
Jeff Alworth at Beervana, for example, highlights trans-Atlantic confusion over the meanings and cultural values implied by ‘craft’ and cask. In the US, cask-conditioned beer is considered the height of ‘craft’-ness, while in the UK, as we argue in the book, one of the many simultaneously-live meanings of ‘craft’ has been, since c.1997, ‘the antidote to real ale’. There is much potential for crossed wires here.
Jeff also ponders on why North America didn’t develop a powerful beer consumer group along the lines of the Campaign for Real Ale. It’s not as if the US doesn’t have a culture of clubs, though anything that even remotely resembled a union (CAMRA was nearly called ‘the Beer Drinkers’ Union at one point) would probably have raised hackles.
Derrick Peterman picks up the same thread and offers one possible answer: “Boak and Bailey’s history documents a similar revolution, but a demand driven one rather than the American revolution driven by new supply… That whole idea seems somehow un-American.” In America, capitalism is activism?
At any rate, we look forward to seeing if an answer emerges in discussion.
Finally, both Derrick and Jeff make a point that we hope potential reader will hear: you don’t need to be British to enjoy this book!
(There’ll be a proper blog post, i.e. one that isn’t about us and our book, along later today…)