Here’s everything in writing about beer and pubs that grabbed our attention in the past week, from anger management to keg konfrontations.
The debate about sexism in beer has been a constant background noise as long as we’ve been blogging but seems to be reaching a head right now, in various positive ways. For example, at Good Beer Hunting, Melissa Cole has written a long piece expressing what we suspect a lot of people have been thinking: passionate anger and ‘calling out’ over sexist beer branding clangers is understandable, and often feels like one of the few effective ways to drive change, but is it the best way in every case, and is it sustainable?
All I’m actually saying here is that perhaps we need to stop and think about what led these men, and sometimes women, to not being able to see how this artwork is unacceptable. Are these instances a chance to move the conversation on from merely calling out, and calling names, to a more genuine discourse about why sexist branding is damaging on so many levels? I hope so.… If we can encourage more empathy outside of privilege bubbles, encourage thought beyond what makes you laugh, seeking advice from groups that might be affected by your actions, if we can get acknowledgement that just our own life experiences are not the be all and end all, then that would be a huge start.
By way of a chaser, check out this piece by Alice at Alice Likes Beer reporting on a specific, awkward instance of weird behaviour occurring where else but in the crowd at a discussion about sexism at a beer festival.
The Campaign for Real Ale’s Revitalisation project is also reaching a head and as the proposals are laid out and the big vote approaches (members can vote at the AGM, or by proxy) the pros and cons are being explored. Here’s a list of opinion pieces which might help you make up your mind, or alternatively give you ammo to back up what you already believe.
Paul Bailey (no relation) at Bailey’s Beer Blog – “ I have mixed feelings.… not because I feel they are wrong as such, but more so because I feel they may fundamentally change the nature of CAMRA – an organisation I have been a member of for over 40 years.”
Pete Brown, Morning Advertiser – “CAMRA’s stated aim to move from arguing over dispense to prioritising beer quality more broadly is precisely the thing that cask ale needs desperately to survive.”
Roger Protz, Protz on Beer – “The threats to good beer come not from the likes of Beavertown or Cloudwater but from factory beers brewed by global giants concerned with profits, not quality.”
The Pub Curmudgeon – “‘Real ale’, for better or worse, is something that has an objective definition. ‘Quality beer’ doesn’t, and can mean whatever you choose it to mean.”
Dave S, Brewing in a Bedsitter – “[A] lot of it seems to be sensible, pragmatic stuff.… [But] talk of ‘pinnacles’ and ‘superiority’ is, essentially, bollocks, and exemplifies the problem that a lot of people have with CAMRA.”
The author of the Running Past local history blog has turned their attention to a set of Victorian pubs in South East London with something in common: they are all the work of the same developer-builder-architect, John Pound.
Pound was born in Blackheath in 1827. He was the son of publicans, Thomas and Sarah, who ran the Three Tuns pub (now O’Neill’s), above, in Tranquil Vale in Blackheath from 1824.… He married into the pub trade – his wife, Rose, was daughter of Caroline Morton who ran the (Old) Tiger’s Head at Lee Green.… for over two decades in the mid 19th century.…
Via James Beeson at the Morning Advertiser comes news of a front line tussle between BrewDog and Carlsberg/Heineken:
On 24 January.… [a York pub] which declined to be named, received a letter from Serviced Dispense Equipment (SDE), a joint venture between by Heineken UK and Carlsberg UK, informing them that BrewDog’s use of the beer dispense equipment in its venue had not been paid for or authorised by SDE. In the letter, seen by The Morning Advertiser (MA), the pub was told that because BrewDog has refused to purchase the lease payments incurred by the use of SDE equipment to serve its beers, the company has ‘no other option’ but to disconnect all BrewDog products being served in the venue.
We can perhaps expect to see more of this kind of thing as competition for the craft beer slot on the keg section in mainstream pubs heats up. In the meantime, it’s a useful reminder that there are often complicated, rather boring reasons for what pubs sell, and what they don’t.
A sign-o-the-times footnote, and the first time we’ve ever linked to Hello magazine: film director Guy Ritchie has set up a brewery on the country estate he got as part of his divorce settlement with Madonna. When we saw the headline we assumed he’d be lending his name to someone else but, no, the 20-barrel Gritchie brewery (awful name) is actually in an old barn on his land.
We’re going to finish with this Tweet thread from Stephen Beaumont which has convinced us to give this beer another chance:
So @innisandgunnUK has repackaged their Original Oak Aged beer, adding greater emphasis to “The Original” and switching “Oak Aged” to “Barrel Aged.” But they have done more than simply update what I always thought was a bit too fussy a label; they have also changed the beer. 1/5 pic.twitter.com/dQkHRTUsgj
— Stephen Beaumont (@BeaumontDrinks) January 31, 2018