News, Nuggets & Longreads for 9 June 2018: Etiquette, Esters, Ethics

A beer garden in summer.

Here’s everything on the subject of beer and pubs that we bookmarked in the past week, from matters of manners to jars of juice.

Well, most of the last week: we wrote this on Thurs­day and sched­uled it to post so if any­thing big hap­pened on Fri­day, sor­ry, it’s prob­a­bly miss­ing.

Let’s start with this piece for the Guardian by Tony Nay­lor on the new eti­quette of the pub. We can’t say we agree with every word but it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing snap­shot of where things stand in 2018:

Peo­ple mak­ing phone calls, tex­ting and tweet­ing in the pub is to be expect­ed and, unless they are giv­ing it the full Dom Joly, of no issue. Vol­ume is key. Show­ing your mate that hilar­i­ous video on YouTube? Mute it. Paci­fy­ing your kids with Paw Patrol episodes on the tablet? Get their head­phones on. Spare us that tin­ny rack­et.

See also: R.M. Banks. on Mod­ern Pub­man­ship.

Cash Money Pound Signs.

Dave ‘Hard­knott’ Bai­ley has gone on record with some details of the anti-com­pet­i­tive mea­sures he under­stands large sup­pli­ers to be tak­ing to push the prod­ucts of small­er brew­ers off the bars of UK pubs:

[A bar own­er] con­tact­ed me a cou­ple of months ago as they were nego­ti­at­ing with sup­pli­ers of their major brand lager. It seems that they were being offered a cash lump sum for a two year exclu­siv­i­ty deal. They were being offered £2k cash to kick our Inter­galac­tic Space Hop­per off the bar. Appar­ent­ly it isn’t just one major beer pro­duc­er that is doing this, it is most of the big multi­na­tion­al brands and is look­ing a lit­tle bit like a car­tel and anti-com­pete­tive action.… £2k is rough­ly the annu­al val­ue of this par­tic­u­lar account. We can­not com­pete in this ter­ri­to­ry.

Illustration: 'Citrus burst'.

For the Take­out Kate Bernot analy­ses the brew­ing industry’s obses­sion with ‘juici­ness’ and the inter­est­ing ways it is being achieved by Amer­i­can brew­ers in 2018:

Cal­i­for­nia-based Bal­last Point Brew­ing (owned by Con­stel­la­tion Brands).… recent­ly intro­duced a new vari­ant of its pop­u­lar Sculpin IPA called Alo­ha Sculpin. It’s not brewed with pineap­ple, as the name might imply, but with a yeast strain called Brux Trois that sup­plies its fruity notes and slight­ly more round­ed tex­ture.… “We played around with this weird new yeast strain that made all these beau­ti­ful, trop­i­cal fla­vors. We put it on tap and the beer was gone before we knew it,” says Bal­last Point’s direc­tor of qual­i­ty Lau­ren Zei­dler. “We had this col­lec­tive light­bulb go off that this yeast makes so many amaz­ing trop­i­cal fla­vors and this could be a great pair for some of the best attrib­ut­es of the base Sculpin.”

Telescope in Cornwall.

We should have writ­ten this piece about beer in Corn­wall, but we didn’t. Some­how, when we lived there, we nev­er quite got it togeth­er, or couldn’t see the over­all pic­ture clear­ly enough, and so held back. For Good Beer Hunt­ing Jon­ny Gar­rett, how­ev­er, has spoke to a wide range of inter­est­ing peo­ple and giv­en a rather sharp read­ing. We par­tic­u­lar­ly like the fact that he spoke to the founders of a brew­ery that failed because of the real­i­ties of brew­ing in the far west:

A com­mon say­ing down here is that Corn­wall is ‘five years behind Lon­don,’ and unfor­tu­nate­ly, that’s the case in the beer world,” [Rob] Lowe says. “Tra­di­tion­al cask beer dom­i­nates the Cor­nish pub scene, and sea­son­al­i­ty can be a killer. Many small brew­eries can’t pro­duce any­where near enough to meet demand in sum­mer, but then spend months bare­ly brew­ing when the tourists leave. It makes cash­flow a night­mare.”

Corn­wall has 44 brew­eries, but 9 have closed in the last decade. That’s not exact­ly an impres­sive suc­cess rate—clearly, com­pe­ti­tion for the hearts and mouths of the local cask-drink­ing pop­u­la­tion is fierce.

A canal boat and beers.

From Lydia and Lor­na at Liquor­trips comes a late con­tri­bu­tion to #BeeryLongreads2018 in the form of a report on the Worces­ter Ale Trail:

The Ale Trail – which is the result of a part­ner­ship between The Cardinal’s Hat and the Worces­ter Food Fes­ti­val – sends you around eight pubs with the view of order­ing a pint of real ale in each. Pun­ters have until June 17 to com­plete the chal­lenge.… The rec­om­mend­ed order of com­ple­tion is you begin your adven­ture at The King’s Head in Sid­bury, head­ing next to The Cardinal’s Hat on Fri­ar Street before then stop­ping off at The King Charles on New Street. Then you go on to The Fire­fly in Lowes­moor, the Impe­r­i­al Tav­ern on St Nicholas Street, The Paul Pry in The Butts, Ton­ic Bar on Fore­gate Street and final­ly fin­ish­ing at The Oil Basin in Copen­hagen Street.

And we’ll fin­ish with some sad news:

2 thoughts on “News, Nuggets & Longreads for 9 June 2018: Etiquette, Esters, Ethics”

  1. Is it just me, or is there a fun­da­men­tal dichoto­my in Dave Bailey’s log­ic: “Keg is the way for­wards for small brew­ers”, but “small brew­ers can’t com­pete with keg”? I know that’s some­thing of a reduc­tion of his argu­ments, but sure­ly with­out a change in leg­is­la­tion, the word­ing of the Beer Orders means that the num­ber of out­lets for keg beers is a lot more lim­it­ed than the num­ber of out­lets for cask, due to the “soft tie”? Actions that would be ille­gal against cask beer are not out­lawed against keg.

  2. And com­pare and con­trast with Ver­dant – a brew­ery who not only com­plete­ly under­stand the local and nation­al mar­kets, they are accept­ing of them and build their busi­ness accord­ing­ly.
    I won­der why they’re suc­cess­ful? 😉
    I’m real­ly, real­ly impressed with what they have to say. All pow­er to them.

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