News, nuggets and longreads 28 September 2019: language, complexity, taprooms

Karaoke pub.

Here’s everything on beer and pubs that grabbed our attention in the past week, from The Good Beer Guide to the language we use.

First, here’s a sub­stan­tial piece by Jon­ny Gar­rett for Good Beer Hunt­ing which attempts to unpick the lan­guage used in the con­ver­sa­tion around beer:

Char­ac­ter lim­its and fast-scrolling mean we’re get­ting more cre­ative, but we’re also reduc­ing the words we use to mean the same thing. On an Insta­gram post or Untap­pd check-in, why list gua­va, man­go, and pineap­ple when a sim­ple “juicy” cuts to the chase?

You might quib­ble with some of his con­clu­sions – the ori­gins of the terms ‘craft beer’ and ‘craft brew­ery’ are hot­ly debat­ed, for exam­ple – but there’s plen­ty of food for thought.


Instagram likes.

For CañaBeth Dem­mon gets stuck into a com­plex ques­tion: if sex­ist imagery on beer pack­ag­ing is a prob­lem, what about when social media influ­encers in beer gain lever­age by pre­sent­ing them­selves as sexy? Is it empow­er­ment, or per­pet­u­a­tion?

I tend to be less than thrilled when men decide to police women’s bod­ies. But as a woman cov­er­ing the craft beer scene, I also strug­gle with the resid­ual impact that hyper­sex­u­al con­tent from beer influ­encers has on how the world may view me in the same space. With more and more con­ver­sa­tions cov­er­ing the trou­ble­some his­to­ry that beer has with women while acknowl­edg­ing the poten­tial dam­age this new genre of social media inter­ac­tion can have on all women, I’ve come to realise one impor­tant truth: it’s com­pli­cat­ed.


Anheuser Busch logo.

Anoth­er piece from Good Beer Hunt­ingEvan Rail reports from the Czech Repub­lic on AB-InBev’s acqui­si­tion of Sam­son, a some­what over­looked brew­ery in České Budějovice, AKA Bud­weis, and what it might mean for the ongo­ing trade­mark bat­tle over the term Bud­weis­er:

We used to be much larg­er,” says Sam­son CEO Daniel Dře­vikovský. “We need to con­nect to our local con­sumers, because we lost them at the end of the ’90s.”… How much larg­er? In 1996, Sam­son was brew­ing at capac­i­ty, nudg­ing up against 380,000 bar­rels (in local terms, 450,000 hec­to­liters) per year, about as much as what Stone Brew­ing pro­duced last year. Today, its annu­al pro­duc­tion is only 75,000 bar­rels, a lit­tle more than what Mass­a­chu­setts’ Wachusett Brew­ing Com­pa­ny made in 2018. That’s not the nadir: vol­umes at Sam­son have actu­al­ly improved under its AB InBev own­er­ship, up more than 10% in 2017 and increas­ing slight­ly from there last year… Those results, Dře­vikovský says, are due to invest­ments in tech­nol­o­gy and san­i­ta­tion under the own­er­ship of AB InBev, which has put mil­lions into Sam­son over the last five years.


Order and Outdoor Dept. sign.
SOURCE: Stephen Mar­land.

Stephen Mar­land, the man behind the Man­ches­ter Estate Pubs blog, has a piece on his oth­er web­site, Mod­ern Mooch, about the Anson Hotel on Beres­ford Road in Man­ches­ter:

Cycling back from Town, zig zag­ging between the A6 and Birch­fields Road, I head­ed down Beres­ford Road and bumped into a behe­moth… A huge inter-war Whit­bread booz­er long since closed, now a retail food out­let and badged as the Buhran Cen­tre, also trad­ing as Burooj… This change of use is far from uncom­mon, the demo­graph­ics, socio-eco­nom­ic con­di­tions and drink­ing habits which shape this and count­less oth­er pubs, have since shift­ed away from the lost world of this immense, road­house-style palace of fun.


The 2020 Good Beer Guide.

Good Beer Guide tick­er Mar­tin Tay­lor has had a lit­tle while to digest the lat­est edi­tion of CAM­RA’s flag­ship pub­li­ca­tion and has reached a few con­clu­sions. Read his high lev­el sum­ma­ry first

The microp­ub craze is dead… Only jok­ing. Sev­en new ones in Tyne & Wear alone, nine in Lan­cashire, etc etc… Old Dylan LPs are now avail­able in 23% of the Guide’s pubs… Plen­ty of tap­rooms too, which are arguably even less to pro­vide you with a cou­ple hav­ing an argu­ment over a fer­ret.

…then check out this reflec­tion on open­ing hours which becomes a lament for the coun­try pub which can’t afford to open on week­days or lunchtimes.


Taproom sign.

Speak­ing of tap­rooms, Jeff Alworth con­tin­ues his Euro­pean tour with some reflec­tions on how pur­su­ing inter­est­ing beer in 2019 increas­ing­ly means head­ing to the wrong side of the tracks:

In past gen­er­a­tions, past beer hunters prob­a­bly spent much of their days in remote coun­try­side loca­tions. Folks pur­su­ing and writ­ing about beer before the 1990s found pre­cious few brew­eries in cities. The brew­eries that sur­vived were often in small towns out­side of larg­er pop­u­la­tion cen­ters… The hunters of our day have a dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence: we’re head­ed back into the cities. Sort of. But the brew­eries we vis­it are almost nev­er down­town, where real estate is expen­sive. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wan­dered toward a brew­ery pur­port­ed­ly with­in the city, only to find myself on the mar­gin­al, decay­ing fringes, won­der­ing what I’ve got­ten myself into.


An inter­est­ing bit of bad news from Beer Guide Lon­don: UBrew in Bermond­sey has gone into liq­ui­da­tion.


If you’re after a beer book to read, we’d like to rec­om­mend Mau­reen Ogle’s Ambi­tious Brew, which is out in an updat­ed Kin­dle edi­tion right now.


Final­ly, here’s some­thing from Twit­ter:

For more links and read­ing, check out Stan Hierony­mus on Mon­days and Alan McLeod every Thurs­day.