Here’s the best of what we’ve read about beer and pubs around the internet in the last week, from London to Lisbon.
→ Des de Moor has published a free update to his book The CAMRA Guide to London’s Best Beer, Pubs and Bars accompanied by some state-of-the-nation commentary on London’s beer scene:
London breweries continue to expand whatever their size, with Moncada and Redemption among those in the midst of long-needed upgrades. The startup rate has definitely slowed, though, and the brewery total in my latest update is down to 75 from 78 last July: a handful of closures include the last remnant of the 1970s Big Seven in London at the Stag, Mortlake, and a number of would-be brewpubs that evidently found it easier to sell other people’s beer.
→ For the Midlands Beer Blog Collective Bob Maxfield and Dave Hopkins interviewed the people behind Birmingham’s craft beer and pinball bar, Tilt, eliciting a great case study of what’s been going on in British beer in the last decade or so:
I fell out of love with CAMRA when, some years later, while following a Ramstein tour, we decided to visit the Brewdog Bars we had been reading about. I then found Stirchley Wines who did a half decent selection at the time and had a bit of Great Divide and some Mikeller. They had all the Brewdog stuff and it was at that point that I started to get really excited, and begun to get more involved with Beer Advocate again, and started trading beers with others.
→ Takeover news #1: US brewery Cigar City, long-rumoured to a target for takeover by one of the multi-nationals, ‘has agreed to sell controlling interest to Boston-based private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners’, according to Chris Furnari reporting for beer news website Brewbound. Or it was taken over by another brewery, Oskar Blues, according to, er, Cigar City: ‘Putting months of acquirement rumors to rest, the decision is driven by mutual irreverence, respect and desire to stay true to craft beer roots.’
→ Takeover news #2: Last month global brewing giant AB-InBev took over The Beer Hawk, a small UK online beer distribution company; now it’s bought a similar firm in France according to French website Beer Time. A strategy emerges? (Translation from French here; via @BryanDRoth.)
→ One for fans of historic details: Gary Gillman has found what he thinks is a previously un-mined source of information 18th century malting that illuminates how porter was made.
→ These struck us as twin pieces: Craft Beer & Brewing has produced a list of slang used by extreme beer geeks in the US, from beached whale to porch bomb; while, for Draft, Kate Bernot asks ‘Why Are Beer People so Outraged?’:
Will Gordon… sees beer as so central to some people’s lifestyles that they’re unable to tolerate opposing views.
“There is a peculiar, loud 1 percent of craft beer fans who are people with an absurd lifestyle that they want validated,” he says. “If you make fun of driving up a dirt road in Vermont at 7 in the morning to get a bottle of Hill Farmstead, what those people hear is their wife’s voice saying they should have gone to the kid’s soccer game that morning instead.”
→ Alex at The Beermack’s guide to ‘Good Beer in Lisbon (and where to find it)’ is (a) like a virtual city break in its own right and (b) potentially useful if you’re planning on visiting Portugal this summer.
→ Finally, via Beer Today, research firm Mintel has published new research into craft beer in Britain with some interesting nuggets to chew on:
What’s more, just one in four (24%) beer buyers are willing to spend more than £4 on a pint of craft beer in the on-trade and 21% are unprepared to even go above £3 per pint. On the other hand, there are a small number of consumers who clearly have strong beliefs in craft credentials as 5% of beer buyers are prepared to exceed £5 on a pint of craft beer.
→ in his budget on Wednesday the Chancellor, George Osborne, froze beer duty. Brigid Simmonds of the BBPA thinks it’s good news; others (to summarise chatter on Twitter) think it largely inconsequential, at least from the perspective of consumers. This is an interesting thought, though:
That business rates cut is great news for so many pubs, beer shops and breweries more important than a duty cut in my opinion.
— Tom Norton (@MillGreenTom) March 16, 2016
→ And, finally, this from Gavin Hutsby is nice: