A while ago, we thought aloud about whether there was anyone talking or writing about beer with anything like the ability of Jamie Oliver or Delia Smith to mention a product and immediately cause it to sell out across the country.
Back in 2011, we joined Twitter because we were frustrated by the BBC’s blank refusal to mention beer in any substantial way on its flagship weekend cookery show Saturday Kitchen and wanted to join in a campaign to encourage them to reconsider. It didn’t really work.
In recent months, however, without much fanfare, Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch (another show following much the same template of light chat around a cooker) has done what we all wanted and made beer a semi-regular feature, with Ms. Warman as their in-house expert.
Having paid her dues ‘vlogging’ on YouTube, she looks comfortable on screen; she also conveys genuine enthusiasm for beer and knows her stuff, without being a know-all or a nerd, which is presumably why they keep asking her back.
Last weekend (registration required, un-skippable ads) she surveyed some ‘craft cans’, recommending beers from Beavertown and Rooster’s. For our part, we noticed an immediate bump in traffic to our own review of the latter, and one beer retailer has confirmed a rise in sales following the show. (Albeit not as big as when Beavertown Neck Oil featured on the prime-time Food & Drink.) Tom Fozard from Rooster’s was also very happy with the outcome:
We’ve had a few enquiries via email, Twitter and the phone from people asking where they can buy our cans from, which is good, but the amount of favourites and mentions on Twitter on the day was great. Definitely a nice buzz surrounding the whole thing.
So, not quite a Delia/Jamie run on pickled walnuts or whatever, but certainly a step up from wine experts half-heartedly discussing a bottled bitter from Tesco for 30 seconds before getting back to the stuff they’re really interested in.
Cards on the table: in practice, we find Sunday Brunch near unwatchable, beer or no beer; and, though we think they’re a good thing in the abstract, don’t particularly enjoy watching video blogs either. We’re also slightly uneasy about the fact that Ms. Warman works primarily for BrewDog.
Those concerns aside, if/when she gets her own show, we will definitely be there with a big bowl of popcorn. (We know from several conversations we’ve had that TV companies are itching to do something about beer — they just haven’t found an angle that works yet, or the right people to front it.)
In the meantime, if you’re a brewery with samples to send out, you should probably make sure she is at the top of your list.