Generalisations about beer culture opinion

British Beer in the Next Year

We’re planning a longform ‘state of play 2014-15’ supplement to Brew Britannia for the summer but, in the meantime, here are some brief thoughts on what the next year might hold.

1. Larger, better-established family/regional breweries, anxious over their status in relation to ‘craft beer’, will dabble in once-obscure areas of the Jacksonian style framework:

2. This comes up every year, but we really think that, in 2015, IPA and ‘craft’ fatigue will lead some smaller, hipper breweries to start exploring styles so down-to-earth and old skool that not even supposedly conservative breweries make them any more, e.g. brown ale:

3. At the other end of the spectrum, we expect a lot more of these kinds of Heston Blumenthal experiments, where beer is made to taste like cider, or gin, or

Siren Limoncello copy and label.

…as well as more attempts to replicate children’s sweets or desserts:

(Just to confuse things, Bateman’s, a ‘square’ brewery, have been dabbling in this territory for a while.)

3b. And brace yourselves for bacon butty beers — if they’re not already out there fermenting (no doubt someone will tell us) they can’t be far away.

4. This is a bit vague but… Cans, cutting edge for craft beer in 2014, will become commonplace, forcing the cool kids to find another CAMRA-baiting taboo to break. We jokingly suggested 3 litre PET bottles might be embraced ironically someday — it won’t be that, but perhaps something similar. Smoothflow double IPA, maybe?

5. Big beer — the multinationals — will start to get serious about muscling in on and/or attempting to neuter ‘craft beer’. The basic premise of the recent LIDL Surprises campaign (video below) is that hipsters are mugs; most people who fancy themselves discerning are bullshitters; and everyone should stop struggling against the loving embrace of the supermarkets and their lovely, lovely bargains. We’re waiting for one of the multi-national breweries to pull a stunt along the same lines. This article is satire but pretty plausible; and here’s one from history — people love this kind of ‘Gotcha!’ story.

Phew. The first post after a break is always difficult but that’s us nicely warmed up…

12 replies on “British Beer in the Next Year”

I think there will be a growth in micropubs – already becoming more widespread around here in SE London/Kent. It is an easier route into pub ownership – get hold of a shop and just sell cask beer/cider/wine, no music or jukeboxes and just the sound of chat between patrons. It harks back to the ‘good old days’ plus allows interesting beer to reach more people. They seem to appeal to those older people who stopped going to pubs, but also the younger market looking to drink well-kept beer in a nice environment.

A furiously hip new brewer on the Hackney/Leyton border will launch with a malty brown beer called ‘Emperors New Clothes’, served in a 1970s Hornsey Pottery soup bowl.

We’ve had loads of single hop beers, so probably more beer showcasing single malts and single yeast?

Also low alcohol/non-alcoholic beer sector will continue to grow rapidly.

CANS: I heard very recently of a brewery that does small run contract stuff for a few folk with “brand” ideas deciding to get a canning line. It was 2nd hand info… but entirely plausible in the current environment.

Just think about it – by the end of 2015 any old scum could be putting beer in their own branded can. [With respect to “scum” see also the whole “beer architects” brouhaha. 🙂 ]

(Catching up on some reading, so a few days late to the party on this post. I see you have one about architects too…)

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