News, Nuggets & Longreads 18 March 2017: Bibles, BrewDog, Bulldogs

The brewhouse at Zero Degrees, Bristol.

Here’s all the beer- and pub-related news and reading that’s seized our attention in the last week, from marriage equality in Australia to takeover tremors at BrewDog.

A quick men­tion, first, for Nathaniel South­wood whose post on why he’s done with beer fes­ti­vals went mild­ly viral on Red­dit this week, some­what to his sur­prise. We’re also fes­ti­val scep­tics and so, it seems, are plen­ty of oth­er peo­ple out there.

Portrait shot of Mike Marcus.

For Brew­ers’ Jour­nal edi­tor Tim Shea­han has pro­filed Mike Mar­cus, the out­spo­ken founder of Man­ches­ter’s Chorl­ton Brew­ing Co. At times aggres­sive­ly polit­i­cal on social media, and com­mit­ted to pro­duc­ing chal­leng­ing beers, his com­ments come across as refresh­ing­ly unvar­nished:

Some peo­ple can’t under­stand why we don’t have a busi­ness mod­el to sell to a big­ger busi­ness. Sure you have some excep­tions in the UK with the sales of Mean­time and Cam­den Town but with some­thing like 1,700 brew­eries, how many are going to exit like that. Ten, maybe. Who knows? I want an investor that backs me and works with me. It’s why we’ve nev­er done crowd­fund­ing, every­one is look­ing for an exit.


A glass of beer at BrewDog Bristol.

With that segue, let’s turn to Brew­Dog: in the last cou­ple of weeks the Scot­tish brew­ery has writ­ten to share­hold­ers (PDF) and post­ed on the forum for ‘Equi­ty Punks’ (crowd-fund­ing back­ers) with news of changes which pave the way for an out­side investor to acquire a 30 per cent share of the com­pa­ny by, in effect, down­grad­ing the val­ue of shares held by small­er investors. There’s a short sum­ma­ry of the main points by Kad­him Shub­ber at the Finan­cial Times (reg­is­tra­tion required) and Glynn Davis at Beer Insid­er pro­vides help­ful com­men­tary:

Crowd-fund­ing is being mar­ket­ed to very small investors who prob­a­bly do not have much finance expe­ri­ence. They think they are buy­ing ‘shares’ but if their pre-emp­tion rights are being wide­ly removed as an orig­i­nal con­di­tion, then they are not get­ting what any rea­son­able per­son would view as equi­ty… I strong­ly sus­pect that the FCA (Finan­cial Con­duct Author­i­ty) will be along short­ly to inform Brew­Dog, Crowd­Cube et al of this very fact.

Detail aside, this tells us that a move every­one has been wait­ing for is final­ly under­way. We doubt very much that the par­tic­u­lar investor Brew­Dog is court­ing is a big mul­ti-nation­al brew­ery – they’ve just banged on about that so much when they did­n’t need to that we can’t see it hap­pen­ing. But who knows.


'Keeping it light' title card from the controversial video.

Last week­end we saw Tweets from Luke Robert­son (@AleOfaTime) high­light­ing that Aus­tralian brew­ery Coop­er’s had appar­ent­ly spon­sored, or endorsed, or oth­er­wise become entan­gled with, a Chris­t­ian group opposed to gay mar­riage. In the days that fol­lowed this sto­ry blew up, gar­ner­ing glob­al cov­er­age and becom­ing a flash-point in the ongo­ing bat­tle between con­ser­v­a­tives and pro­gres­sives. Luke’s com­men­tary, updat­ed through the week as the sto­ry devel­oped, is a good place to start if you want to know more.


A red door at the old Thwaites brewery.

Katie at The Snap & the Hiss vis­it­ed an exhi­bi­tion of pho­tographs of, and at, the old Thwait­es brew­ery in Black­burn. Richard Tymon’s pic­tures, of which Katie shares a few exam­ples, look love­ly, but hers aren’t half bad either.


A beer pump handle.

Alec Lath­am, our Gold­en Pints blog­ger of the year for 2016, has been reflect­ing on night shifts, social exhaus­tion and the role of the pub, with his usu­al lit­er­ary flour­ish:

On the sur­face, I’m brit­tle, unable and even unwill­ing to socialise. Under­wa­ter, I watch the sur­round­ings around me with detach­ment like I’m drift­ing around a fish tank. But some­thing to do with body and mind try­ing to re-align makes me privy to neb­u­lous thoughts played out across time. It’s not some­thing I try and do but some­thing that lies in wait for me.

(Con­tains descrip­tions of an amorous bull­dog some read­ers may find dis­turb­ing.)


Beer bottles labels: 'Product of Northern Ireland'.

Roy who writes about beer in North­ern Ire­land at Quare Swal­ly has been inves­ti­gat­ing the ori­gins of var­i­ous beers mar­ket­ed as local and was­n’t impressed by what he found:

Gallopers/Night Cap doesn’t do much bet­ter – sim­ply stat­ing it’s pro­duced and bot­tled in the UK.  It’s actu­al­ly brewed by Sadler’s Ales down Birm­ing­ham direc­tion.  The post­code on the label isn’t much use either as it’s an office post­code beside Belfast City Hall.  A cou­ple of min­utes of online inves­ti­ga­tion work leads you to oth­er reg­is­tered address­es in South Belfast and Man­ches­ter.


Final­ly, here’s a fan­tas­tic sto­ry in pic­tures from archi­tec­tur­al his­to­ri­an Kathryn Mor­ri­son:

One thought on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 18 March 2017: Bibles, BrewDog, Bulldogs”

  1. I see the Wans­ford Knight was a Holes pub. Though it does­n’t seem to have been in 1968, as it isn’t in the val­u­a­ton done for Courage.

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