News, Nuggets & Longreads 7 April 2018: Tap Rooms, Masculinity, The Luppit

Seamus O'Donnell's pub in Bristol.

Here’s all the writing and news about beer and pubs that grabbed our attention in the past week, from Chicago to Rochdale. But we’ll start with some bits of news.

Detail from an advert for Skol, 1960.

For Punch Gray Chap­man takes a deep look into atti­tudes around gen­der in rela­tion to beer, inspired by Helana Darwin’s research that we men­tioned in one of these round-ups a few weeks ago. The arti­cle is called ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About “Bitch Beer”’:

Beer is inex­tri­ca­bly tan­gled up in gen­der, and no one under­stands this bet­ter than the women who choose to drink it. Much of its his­to­ry is root­ed in a blue-col­lar, can­vas cov­er­alls-tinged vision of mas­culin­i­ty that’s still evi­dent in almost every aspect of its sup­ply chain; label art com­mon­ly recalls Axe Body Spray at best, car­toon porn at worst. Less aggres­sive but more ubiq­ui­tous is the prac­ti­cal­ly algo­rith­mic aes­thet­ic of craft beer bars, with their ware­house-indus­tri­al inte­ri­ors and a Ron Swan­son-esque pen­chant for rough-hewn wood and leather, evok­ing a nos­tal­gia for a time and place where Real Men and their work-cal­loused hands made things.

Goose Island brewery.

The oth­er big read this week (well, last week, but we missed it) is Josh Noel’s piece for the Chica­go Tri­bune which trails his upcom­ing book on Goose Island with a look at the company’s cul­ture and for­tunes in the wake of the 2011 takeover by AB-InBev:

Vir­tu­al­ly every major Goose Island brand was down nation­al­ly last year in gro­cery, con­ve­nience, big box and drug stores, accord­ing to Chica­go-based mar­ket research firm IRI: 312 Urban Wheat Ale fell 19 per­cent; Green Line Pale Ale and Four Star Pils were each down 35 per­cent; Honker’s Ale fell 49 per­cent; even sales of Goose Island vari­ety packs were down 33 per­cent.… Even more of a con­cern was the dam­age in Goose Island’s own back­yard: 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Green Line, Four Star Pils and Honker’s Ale were all down dou­ble dig­its in Chica­go. Goose Island’s over­all Chica­go sales were down 7 per­cent, while one of its biggest local com­peti­tors, Rev­o­lu­tion Brew­ing, was up 34 per­cent.

There is a lot of buzz around tap­rooms right now – we cer­tain­ly feel it in Bris­tol – and Zoe Wood has inves­ti­gat­ed the trend for the Guardian, trig­gered by research from SIBA:

The tap room pro­vides a real con­nec­tion between the cus­tomers and where their beer comes from,” says [John] Gyn­gell of [Leeds-based North Brew­ing Com­pa­ny]. “It also makes sense finan­cial­ly as we are able to sell the beer at retail rather than trade mar­gins. This has been invalu­able in sup­port­ing our expan­sion dur­ing our first two years of trad­ing.”

An elderly woman behind a small bar.

Good Beer Guide pub crawler Dun­can Mack­ay reports from The Lup­pit Inn in Devon:

Meet Mary.  The Lup­pitt Inn is a par­lour room in her farm­house. It is not so much a pub as a beer house, from the days when licens­ing laws per­mit­ted their cre­ation. These days it would be called a microp­ub.  Mary is 96 years old and has been there since the 1940’s, for­mer­ly with her hus­band Albert, but it has been in the fam­i­ly for over a cen­tu­ry.

(This makes us think we missed a trick – we should cer­tain­ly have inter­viewed Mary for 20th Cen­tu­ry Pub.)

Paul's Malt website

From Ed news of a range of brand­ed malts appar­ent­ly aimed at craft brew­ers, with a web­site that made him cringe:

I real­ly don’t know what to make of it, but nau­ti­cal themed car­toons aren’t what I look for when I’m after malt. I don’t need each malt type to be giv­en a themed brand either, but UK fig­ures for the malt analy­ses would be nice.

Doorway of the Kingsway Hotel.

Tan­dle­man has revived his project to vis­it all the Sam Smith pubs in his neck of the woods and dis­cov­ered a rel­ic of the 1930s in the process:

Built in 1938, [The Kingsway Hotel] is a fan­tas­tic exam­ple of inter war pub design. Total­ly unspoilt, it has a pletho­ra of orig­i­nal fea­tures, such as the afore­men­tioned par­quet floor, a work­ing revolv­ing door, pan­elled walls, prop­er fire­places, as as well as the rather grand lamps of the time. A bit of a worm hole to the past in fact. An over­spill din­ing room was again taste­ful­ly dec­o­rat­ed in the same com­fort­able 1930s man­ner. Local pho­tos enhanced the expe­ri­ence, but the eerie qui­et must have made din­ing a rather soul­less expe­ri­ence and one which I was glad I hadn’t signed up to.

To fin­ish, some­thing sil­ly, via the Onion AV Club: Randy Colpek loves Kirk­land Light, the own-brand beer for Cost­co dis­count club stores in the US, and thought it deserved its own TV ad cam­paign. So he pro­duced one in his yard, with his pals. (Well, we say sil­ly, but watch this and then think again about ‘Bitch Beer’ and ques­tions of mas­culin­i­ty…)

One thought on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 7 April 2018: Tap Rooms, Masculinity, The Luppit”

  1. Some gor­geous pho­tos of pubs this week, includ­ing your own aer­i­al views in the Drap­ers.

    I was glad Dun­can got to the Lup­pit, his first vis­it, which is odd con­sid­er­ing he’s been pub­bing for near­ly four decades. We dis­cussed this and realised it had nev­er been in the Beer Guide, do draw your con­clu­sions about beer qual­i­ty and turnover (OK, just, I thought). A fan­tas­tic pub rarely relies on the finest beer qual­i­ty.

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