News, Nuggets & Longreads 27 October 2018: Brixton, Babies, Beer Festivals

The Fierce & Noble Brewery, Bristol.

Here’s everything that grabbed our attention in the past week, from financial stories about big beer to blog posts about Dorchester.

Cana­di­an beer writer Jor­dan St. John came to the UK in August and in typ­i­cal­ly reflec­tive style, ele­gant­ly expressed as ever, has shared some out­sider obser­va­tions:

The next day at the Great British Beer Fes­ti­val, more change is evi­dent. For one thing, the crowd is sig­nif­i­cant­ly younger than when I was there in 2013. It’s a Tues­day and most of  London’s brew­ery staff has the day off and is in atten­dance. I run into peo­ple from Moor and Wind­sor & Eton, but real­ly I’m there to talk to the peo­ple from Four­pure. They have just recent­ly launched their Juice­box IPA in Ontario, but sad­ly the beer didn’t clear cus­toms in time for the launch. Even more recent­ly than that, they’ve announced the sale of the brew­ery to the Kirin owned Lion PTY Ltd. Check it out: Pur­chased by the Aus­tralian sub­sidiary of a Japan­ese Brew­ery to be a cat’s paw in Eng­land to com­pete with Mean­time, which is owned by Asahi, anoth­er Japan­ese Brew­ery.


Bill Coors.

Beer indus­try mag­nate Bill Coors has died at the age of 102. Reject­ing the rev­er­en­tial ten­den­cy Jeff Alworth has writ­ten a clear-eyed reflec­tion on Coors’ life and lega­cy:

Wealth and suc­cess have always been enough to laun­der bad behav­ior into insti­tu­tion­al respect and hon­or, but we shouldn’t let these state­ments become canon­i­cal. In the decades of his chair­man­ship, the idea that he had a “com­mit­ment to bet­ter­ing lives around him” would have been greet­ed with sour laugh­ter by many. Bill Coors had a dark side, and it is at least as impor­tant to note as his tenure as chair­man.


A baby.

Per­haps pick­ing up on a theme estab­lished by Becky last week, Rachael Smith explains how impor­tant The Pub has been to her in ear­ly moth­er­hood:

Kerthudd! That’s the sound that a half-full infant’s beaker makes when it hits a hard tiled floor, thrown from the height of a high­chair with all the gus­to and might a four­teen month old can muster whilst sleepy and full of chips. Well, most­ly full of chips, I’m sure half his por­tion were on the floor by the end of the ses­sion, minus the one half-eat­en fry that was gift­ed to the staff mem­ber who took her time to get to his lev­el and say hel­lo… Whilst I was chat­ting with a friend, my child had been com­mu­ni­cat­ing in his own lit­tle way with anoth­er lit­tle kid on the table next to us. They had their own lit­tle lan­guage going on and were get­ting on like a house on fire. At the end of lunch a slip of paper was popped on to my table, as I looked down a lopped-off giraffe’s head looked straight back up at me (it was, I soon realised, the top of the children’s menu), next to it in cray­on were names, a num­ber, and the words; play-date?


Keg taps.

An inter­est­ing obser­va­tion from Alec Lath­am: there is a con­stant three-way push and pull between super­mar­kets, craft beer bot­tle shops and pubs. He writes:

I was put in mind of this over the week­end when I went to vis­it a new bot­tle and tap room in Harp­en­den opened by Mad Squir­rel Brew­ery (Hemel Hemp­st­ed)… I noticed how many chillers there were on the shop floor and enquired whether the cans and bot­tles could be con­sumed on site – a daft ques­tion – of course they could… But then he also men­tioned some­thing I’d not­ed myself sub­con­scious­ly, but with­out join­ing up all the dots: take­away sales of cans from beer shop shelves are reap­ing dimin­ish­ing returns, where­as sales of cans from the fridges to be cracked open in the shop are increas­ing.


Gary Gill­man has been dig­ging into the his­to­ry of beer fes­ti­vals  – what filled the gap between Okto­ber­fest and CAMRA’s 1975 Covent Gar­den Beer Exhi­bi­tion? Part 1 | Part 2.


The Dorchester Brewery c.1889.
SOURCE: Alfred Barnard/Hathi Trust.

Mean­while, Alan McLeod con­tin­ues his research into the provin­cial beer styles of Britain with fur­ther infor­ma­tion on the appar­ent­ly once leg­endary Dorch­ester Ale:

A lady, who had been my fel­low pas­sen­ger, turned to me as we drove up the avenue, and said, “I sup­pose, of course, you mean to try the Dorch­ester ale, which is so cel­e­brat­ed.” “Is it very fine?” I asked.

Dear me, have you nev­er tast­ed Dorch­ester ale?” “No, madam, nor have I ever been in this town before.” She looked at me in some sur­prize, as my speech was not Irish nor Scotch. When I told her I came from the Unit­ed States, she gazed upon me with the great­est curios­i­ty…

(Read the com­ments, too.)


An inter­est­ing bit of finan­cial newsAB InBev has cut its div­i­dend after a tough year in some mar­kets:

We can’t remem­ber a more dis­ap­point­ing set of fig­ures from AB InBev,” said RBC ana­lyst James Edwardes Jones, not­ing that most regions missed ana­lysts’ esti­mates for vol­ume growth.


And final­ly, faith in human nature, and so on and so forth:

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