News, Nuggets and Longreads 2 March 2019: Retirement, Simplification, Adjuncts

Here’s all the bookmarkworthy writing about beer and pubs that landed in the past week, from the mysterious behaviour of dads to corn syrup.

First, some depress­ing news from the north west of Eng­land, in a sto­ry that’s unfold­ing right now: Cloudwater’s much-antic­i­pat­ed Fam­i­ly & Friends beer fes­ti­val has run into a licenc­ing issue and may not go ahead today. In a state­ment issued first thing this morn­ing, the brew­ery said:

The police have informed us that Upper Camp­field Mar­ket is not, as we have been assured on many occa­sions by the man­ag­ing agent act­ing on behalf of Man­ches­ter City Coun­cil, licensed for the sale of alco­hol. The attend­ing police offi­cer ear­li­er this evening, the two licens­ing offi­cers, a licens­ing solic­i­tor, and even the night-time tzar of Greater Man­ches­ter, appear to have exhaust­ed every option to allow us to oper­ate in Upper Camp­field Mar­ket tomor­row. If we ignore the licens­ing team, and run tomor­row any­way, I risk an unlim­it­ed fine or six months impris­on­ment.

It’s a reminder of just how much behind-the-scenes bureau­crat­ic bat­tling has to go on to put on any event with booze, and gives a glimpse into why entre­pre­neurs so often seem to end up regard­ing local gov­ern­ment as the ene­my.


Dulwich Raider and his dad.

For Desert­er Andrew Grum­bridge, AKA The Dul­wich Raider, has writ­ten a mem­oir of his heavy-drink­ing father and the course of their rela­tion­ship over decades:

Gin had become his tip­ple. At work, at play, all day, every day. At the out­set of his work­ing life, when pick­ing up a bot­tle of Guin­ness to share with my moth­er after work each day, he watched the smart­ly dressed man in front of him in the queue at the off-licence buy a bot­tle of gin. ‘I promised myself,’ he lat­er told me, ‘that if I worked hard, one day that could be me.’ And now it was, except he was no longer shar­ing it with my moth­er. Or any­one… A con­cerned doc­tor once asked my father how he felt if he went 24 hours with­out drink­ing. ‘No idea,’ he replied, with a shrug.


A pint of stout.

We liked Rach Smith’s short but ele­gant piece on the phi­los­o­phy of pub-going:

Life is com­pli­cat­ed enough. Life is sur­vival and that can get messy, but life is also about find­ing a bal­ance; find­ing har­mo­ny; mak­ing the most of your time; enjoy­ing life. Some peo­ple search for answers, oth­ers seek thrills. Often, I sim­pli­fy. You can’t get a much sim­pler plea­sure than a pint of cask beer. This is har­mo­ny, this is a small thrill. This, for the time it takes to drink it, is life.


Lager beer saloon, 1864.

For Brewed Cul­ture his­to­ri­an Bri­an Alberts has writ­ten about the long trail of argu­ments over adjuncts in Amer­i­can beer recent­ly revived by bick­er­ing between the mar­ket­ing teams of brew­ing giants Anheuser-Busch and Miller-Coors:

Lagers were not just beer to Ger­mans. It was an expres­sion of their entire eth­no­cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, and that iden­ti­ty con­sid­ered beer to be lit­er­al nour­ish­ment, a “poor man’s bread” thanks to its hearty all-bar­ley malts and low­er alco­hol con­tent. As Ger­mans steadi­ly co-opt­ed the Amer­i­can brew­ing indus­try dur­ing the mid-1800s (indeed, 80% of peo­ple work­ing in the indus­try by 1880 were Ger­man immi­grants, or else their chil­dren), they expand­ed the debate about what Amer­i­can beer is and ought to be. It didn’t take long for rebut­tals to emerge… Some Amer­i­cans con­sid­ered immigrants—and their beer—to be a dan­ger­ous for­eign ele­ment. Tem­per­ance reform­ers like­wise saw lager beer as a threat to their cru­sade against alco­hol, and found that one of the most effec­tive ways to attack beer was to claim it was dan­ger­ous.


The Golden Lion, Camden
Adapt­ed from a pic­ture by Ewan Munro (Pub­ol­o­gy), via Flickr.

Today’s archive revival is from 2015 and is one of the rea­sons we’ve nev­er attempt­ed to write a sub­stan­tial piece on pub com­pa­nies: what more is there to be said that isn’t already con­veyed bril­liant­ly in Tom Lamont’s arti­cle for the Guardian about the Gold­en Lion in Cam­den, north Lon­don?


Map of pubs in the City of London, 1968.

Stick­ing in the big city, the author of A Lon­don Inher­i­tance has researched the his­to­ry of a City of Lon­don pub, The Horn Tav­ern, inspired by a pho­to­graph of its dis­tinc­tive lantern tak­en by his father c.1950.


If you want more read­ing, check out Alan McLeod’s Thurs­day round-up, and Stan Hieronymus’s from Mon­day.


And we’ll fin­ish with this:

2 thoughts on “News, Nuggets and Longreads 2 March 2019: Retirement, Simplification, Adjuncts”

  1. There must be some­thing in the air in Man­ches­ter. Many, many years ago and after being held in the same venue for a few years, CAMRA’s Stock­port Beer Fes­ti­val had a sim­i­lar prob­lem. The event was all set up to go, scaf­fold­ing and beer all in place and they may even have opened for one ses­sion when the organ­is­ers were informed that the venue had the wrong type of license. It was some­thing called a “sup­per license” or such like, alco­hol could be served but only at a table to din­ers. So the event had to close. It opened to mem­bers only on the Fri­day evening (as many had already set off to trav­el there) and the beer was giv­en away. But buck­ets were placed all around the place and if those there felt like mak­ing a vol­un­tary dona­tion, well that would be wel­comed. Many such dona­tions were made. On Sat­ur­day, led by the beer order­er Andy Coop­er, the team made valiant efforts to sell on the beer to oth­ers. They did a great job.

    1. A les­son in all this is that a license is always rep­re­sent­ed by a phys­i­cal piece of paper, you should ALWAYS have access to this. You MUST be able to pro­duce it for inspec­tion. An alco­hol license requires licensee (des­ig­nat­ed premis­es super­vi­sor) and you should ALWAYS know who this is.

      The DPS is ulti­mate­ly respon­si­ble for what goes down. They are the indi­vid­ual with whom the buck stops — this is why most big events must get their own licens­es, a sen­si­ble DPS won’t take hands-off respon­si­bil­i­ty for some­one else’s gig. This is respon­si­ble ser­vice of alco­hol stuff — pre­vent­ing drunk­en­ness, under­age drink­ing, etc. We’re talk­ing risk of pros­e­cu­tion – gaol. And it is fun­da­men­tals of alco­hol licens­ing — any­one who’s got a per­son­al license should have a full under­stand­ing of all of this.

      I’m glad it all came to a rel­a­tive­ly hap­py con­clu­sion for most folk… the Cloud­wa­ter team are fan­tas­tic peo­ple with huge pas­sion who poured so much ener­gy into this event — and it is an event Man­ches­ter deserves.

      But there are seri­ous lessons to take away from this. I wouldn’t want to see any­one being pros­e­cut­ed in the cur­rent case or any future cas­es. Igno­rance of the law is not a defence. I’m not sure John Cryne’s CAMRA exam­ple would hap­pen in present time and I sus­pect occur­rences like this one “many, many years ago” are why CAMRA takes all this so seri­ous­ly now — I did the CAMRA fes­ti­val organ­is­er course at GBBF one year and it is inten­sive on get­ting the paper­work right (enough to put one off try­ing to run fes­ti­vals!)

      This is a case of naïvety and a lack of under­stand­ing of licens­ing law, not “bureau­crat­ic bat­tling” with “local gov­ern­ment as the ene­my.”* As much as peo­ple in gen­er­al like to play the vic­tim of The Man when they fall afoul of the law. The result FFBF got in being able to con­tin­ue with day two of the event is tru­ly excep­tion­al — local gov­ern­ment pulling out all stops to effec­tive­ly skirt around the law, I gath­er by let­ting the law be bro­ken but by choos­ing to not pros­e­cute. Local gov­ern­ment are the heroes of this par­tic­u­lar sto­ry.

      The key take-away for this is: ALWAYS *see* the license & it’s details and restric­tions… nev­er assume it exists, no mat­ter what some­one might say. I guar­an­tee most build­ing man­agers and prop­er­ty agents don’t actu­al­ly know licens­ing law. But the folk hold­ing licens­able events should be ful­ly up to date on it to avoid break­ing it and being pros­e­cut­ed. Expect to have to apply for a license of your own to run an event. If you are run­ning a booze event have some­one with a Per­son­al License on the team and an under­stand­ing of licens­ing law. I rec­om­mend doing your per­son­al license your­self if you plan to run an event. And take it seri­ous­ly. Study the mate­r­i­al prop­er­ly. It’s your skin on the line at the end of the day — and let’s not kid our­selves, alco­hol is a drug and can be tox­ic and all peo­ple run­ning bars and events have a seri­ous duty of care. This stuff is impor­tant.

      On the plus side I think this will all result in more peo­ple being more care­ful in future. Hooe­ful­ly raise some aware­ness of licens­ing law. And FFBF v2 will be even bet­ter, and also all above board on the law.

      * Sure, this can some­times be the case of course … but typ­i­cal­ly licens­ing for events where suit­able plan­ning effort can be demon­strat­ed for ensur­ing pub­lic safe­ty and order isn’t a prob­lem. And once you have shown you can do it once it is eas­i­er the sec­ond time.

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