Here’s everything that grabbed our attention in the world of beer and pubs in the past week, from the masculinity of beer to the fascination of Bass.
Dea Latis, an industry group dedicated to promoting beer to women, and challenging the idea that beer is a male preserve. It commissioned a study from YouGov into women’s attitudes to beer which is summarised here, with a link to the full report:
Beer Sommelier and Dea Latis director Annabel Smith said: “We know that the beer category has seen massive progress in the last decade – you only need to look at the wide variety of styles and flavours which weren’t available widely in the UK ten years ago. Yet it appears the female consumer either hasn’t come on the same journey, or the beer industry just isn’t addressing their female audience adequately. Overtly masculine advertising and promotion of beer has been largely absent from media channels for a number of years but there is a lot of history to unravel. Women still perceive beer branding is targeted at men.”
We’ve already linked to this once this week but why not a second time? It’s a substantial bit of work, after all.
There’s some interesting commentary on this, too, from Kirst Walker, who says: “If we want more women in the beer club, we have to sweep up the crap from the floors and admit that flowers are nice and it pays not to smell of horse piss. How’s that for a manifesto?”
Ian Thurman, AKA @thewickingman, was born and brought up in Burton-upon-Trent and has a lingering affection for Bass. He has written a long reflection on this famous beer’s rise and fall accompanied by a crowd-sourced directory of pubs where it is always available:
It’s difficult for me to be unemotional about Draught Bass. It was part of growing up in Burton. But what are the facts.
The EU AB InBev careers’ website accurately describes the relative importance of their brands to the company.
“The UK has a strong portfolio of AB InBev brands. This includes, global brands, Stella Artois and Budweiser, international brands, Beck’s, Leffe and Hoegaarden, as well as local brands, including Boddingtons and Bass.”
We’re fascinated by the re-emergence of the Cult of Bass as a symbol of a certain conservative attitude to pubs and beer. You might regard this article as its manifesto.
Another Burtonian Ian, Ian Webster, has spoken to Ash Corbett-Collins, one of the newest members of the CAMRA National Executive, who offers an optimistic view of the post-Revitalisation landscape:
“The Special Resolutions that were voted on at the AGM aren’t in themselves change,” explains Ash, the initial fallout of the vote saw reports of membership cards being torn up in disgust. “They are words on paper that empower us to make sure the Campaign is effective. We will continue to fight for real ale, real cider and real perry, as we always have done, we will fight for pubs and clubs, as we already do. The members have decided what they want the objectives of the Campaign to be, but how we do that is not yet decided and is up to the volunteers to do what they think is best.
“It is clear to many that we are heading towards a crunch point when it comes to the number of active volunteers that we have. Already some prominent beer festivals have said they won’t be returning next year as they don’t have enough volunteers to plan them.”
(A footnote: at 26, Mr Corbett-Collins – the figurehead of Young CAMRA – is about the same age as the Campaign’s first few leaders in its founding years.)
For Bierfreiheit (a site that’s new to us) Brent Katte has interviewed Felix vom Endt who we remember as the “one beer blogger in Germany” but who is now running his own brewery, Orcabrau. It’s a fascinating piece because it offers insight into how craft beer culture is colliding with traditional German attitudes beer, and because Felix has interesting observations on Franconia in particular:
I’m from the south of Munich so I grew up with beer but there was no thinking about it-it was more just drinking. Then I moved to Upper Franconia for studying- social work. One of my first walks was to a Getrankemarkt to buy beer… I asked someone, “Where’s your Augustiner?” and he asked, “Why do you want Augustiner? We have other beers here.”. I said I didn’t care, I just wanted Augustiner, and he pointed me to the back of the store. I took a case and he came back and said, “Here are six bottles from regional breweries in the same style.”. I said okay‑I’m not interested, but he insisted I take them, they were free.… I never talked to him again; I never saw him again, but this got me a little into beer.
(This one came to us via Andreas Krenmair on Patreon.)
For Craft Beer & Brewing John Holl has returned to the always interesting topic of children in environments where people are drinking, in this case specifically brewery taprooms:
Coming to work on a recent Monday, [Matt] Van Wyk [of Alesong Brewing & Blending in Eugene, Oregon] was met by one of his business partners who relayed a story about a troublesome 4‑year-old who, after spending some time throwing rocks at the brewery walls, proceeded to urinate on the patio.
“A lot of that is kids being kids,” he says. “But the parents should have stopped the behavior when it first happened and noticed things, such as that he needed to use the bathroom. That’s my biggest thing when it comes to kids in breweries. There’s a partnership with parents where the brewery should have a few things that are inviting to families. I’m not saying it should be Chuck E. Cheese’s, but something. And then parents need to take responsibility for watching their kids and entertaining them. Breweries are not just a babysitting place.”
(Disclosure: Mr Holl is an editor we’ve written for and continue to pitch to.)
There’s a heck of a lot to chew on in this very long read from The Crafty Pint which looks in some depth at the impact of the takeover of independent Australian breweries by multinationals, and how important ownership really is in the wake of the launch of a new seal of independence by the Australian Independent Brewers’ Association (IBA). The article takes the form of a Q&A with various industry figures all of whom give thoughtful answers, like this from bar-owner and brewer Jade Flavell:
When someone has sold out, we don’t throw a tantrum but we do stop stocking them. We will trade out what we have got in stock, whether heavily discounted or given away, and we don’t restock it. There are exceptions, however: this years Pink Boots beer in South Australia was brewed at Pirate life and we will buy some in that regard. If something similar happens for another cause, we’re fine with that too… We don’t feel that the [newly acquired breweries] need our help. They are now funded by the biggest of the big guys, and they’re now only part of a big machine.
This piece on trends in UK lager by James Beeson for the Morning Advertiser is an interesting read with lots of stats and what seems like frank comments from people actually engaged in the business of making and selling lager. This line from Jasper Cuppaidge of Camden Town stood out in particular: “We need to stop worrying about styles within styles. What we have to worry about is wine taking more share of throat, or gin knocking us for six like it is at the moment.”
A minor point, a PR stunt, but one that did make us laugh: two US breweries have collaborated on an IPA almost as clear as water, by way of comment on the trend for hazy beers. We reckon this idea might have legs as a trendy sub-style in its own right.
Another minor point… or is it? Goose Island, the Chicago brewery acquired by AB-InBev in 2011, seems to have surprised everyone by announcing the closure of its south London ‘Tap House’ as of this weekend. (Facebook link.)
We’ll finish with this image from the 1970s:
Found this 1976 pic of Mare Street, Hackney.
Who knew ‘text speak’ was invented in an advertising campaign for notorious 70s keg swill Double Diamond? pic.twitter.com/VkltaOGV6q
— TenInchWheels // Beershots.co.uk (@teninchwheels) May 7, 2018
Note: this post was written on Thursday and scheduled to post on Saturday morning. If anything big breaks, or any essential reads drop, we’ll endeavour to add them using our fiddly phones. Also check out Stan Hieronymus’s round-up from Monday, and Alan McLeod’s from, er, today (as we write) or two days ago (as you read).