News, Nuggets & Longreads 4 August 2018: Alcohol, Mirages, Contracts

The old brewery in central Exeter.

Here’s everything to do with beer and pubs that struck us as bookmarkable in the past week, from alcohol guidance to estate pubs.

First, a bit of news from the oth­er side of the world: Lion, which seems to be on a spend­ing spree, has just bought pio­neer­ing New Zealand ‘bou­tique brew­ery’ Har­ring­ton’s, found­ed in 1991.

Mean­while, in Aus­tralia, AB-InBev (via it’s ZX Ven­tures invest­ment wing) has acquired online beer retail­er Booze­Bud, to go with sim­i­lar pur­chas­es world­wide such as Beer­hawk here in the UK.


Illustration: poison symbol (skull and crossbones)

For the Guardian philoso­pher Julian Bag­gi­ni reflects on the essen­tial prob­lem of alco­hol guid­ance in the UK: the entan­gle­ment of sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence-based advice with mat­ters of moral­i­ty.

[We] like to think in clean, clear cat­e­gories of good and bad. With our puri­tan­i­cal Protes­tant his­to­ry, alco­hol has always fall­en on the dark side of this divide. So when the truth turns out to be com­pli­cat­ed, rather than accept this mature­ly, we refuse to acknowl­edge the good and car­ry on as though it were all bad. Because drunk­en­ness is sin­ful, moral con­dem­na­tion of it trumps any oth­er redemp­tive qual­i­ties it might have.

Bar mirage, 1976.
SOURCE: Jim Frost, Chica­go Sun-Times.

In 1976 a team of reporters in Chica­go got frus­trat­ed at their inabil­i­ty to get any bar-own­ers to go on record talk­ing about cor­rup­tion and bribery among the city’s health and safe­ty inspec­tors. Their solu­tion was ele­gant, but con­tro­ver­sial: set up their own bar and take notes and pho­tographs of every shake­down that came their way. (By Andy Wright, via Boing Boing.)

Sign on the side of the pub advertising Northern Soul.
SOURCE: Man­ches­ter’s Estate Pubs

One of our favourite blogs, Man­ches­ter’s Estate Pubs, is back with an affec­tion­ate, melan­choly por­trait of a pub author Steve Mar­land knows, or at least knew, par­tic­u­lar­ly well – The Four Heatons in Stock­port:

Do not let the unusu­al design of the exte­ri­or put you off vis­it­ing this pub. When it first opened it was called the Moss Rose… The name was changed sub­se­quent to the trag­ic and unfor­tu­nate gang­land killing that took place in Sep­tem­ber 1999. It nev­er seemed to recov­er from such a damn­ing rep­u­ta­tion,  and though well used by the many res­i­dents in the well pop­u­lat­ed sur­round­ing area, the offer of hard cash for the site. must in the end have proved irre­sistible.

Alan Winfield in the 1970s.
SOURCE: Nev­er End­ing Pub Crawl.

Speak­ing of pub explor­ers, some sad news: Alan Win­field, author of the Nev­er End­ing Pub Crawl blog, has died. He was ill and knew this was com­ing which gave him time to write one final post round­ing up his favourite pubs of all time.


In the US, there’s been a ker­fuf­fle over non-com­pete claus­es in brew­ers’ con­tracts. It might be with­in their legal right but is it cool for a brew­ery to pre­vent a for­mer staff mem­ber from start­ing their own brew­ery? Jeff Alworth reflects on the news (as cov­ered by Bryan Roth for Good Beer Hunt­ing) point­ing to a his­toric exam­ple for con­text:

I would like to take you back a gen­er­a­tion to 1993, when a sim­i­lar case cre­at­ed a mas­sive stink here in Port­land… The inci­dent involved Alan Sprints and Wid­mer Brew­ing. I spoke to Alan about it in writ­ing my biog­ra­phy of Rob and Kurt, The Wid­mer Way. He had been hired there as a brew­er in a com­pa­ny that was just begin­ning to devel­op a cor­po­rate men­tal­i­ty. They had him sign a non-com­pete agree­ment and when he depart­ed a cou­ple years lat­er to start Hair of the Dog, they sued him… It was a pub­lic rela­tions dis­as­ter for Wid­mer…

Here’s a great Twit­ter thread to fin­ish on – do click through to check out the replies.

One thought on “News, Nuggets & Longreads 4 August 2018: Alcohol, Mirages, Contracts”

  1. The Four Heatons (ex Moss Rose) was one of the two pubs near­est to my house. While it was­n’t the one I tend­ed to favour, I cer­tain­ly enjoyed mnay pints in there over the years and deliv­ered the local CAMRA mag­a­zine to it for over 25 years.

    An inter­est­ing sign of the times is that, when it was built in 1971, it was giv­en spa­cious sep­a­rate cel­lars for mild and bit­ter.

Comments are closed.