News, nuggets and longreads 27 June 2020: All eyes on 4 July

Here’s everything on the subject of beer or pubs that grabbed our attention in the past week, from the re-opening of pubs to taproom culture.

The big news this week was the announcement by the UK Government that pubs will be permitted to re-open from Saturday 4 July, following new guidelines. Reactions to this have been mixed, it’s fair to say.

Some fear it is too much, too soon, and don’t trust the industry or drinkers to behave themselves.

Others think it’s too little, too late, and see the guidelines as fatally restricting and/or pointlessly vague.

Here’s a small selection of the commentary:


Will Hawkes continues his excellent series of of lockdown beer business vignettes with notes on a conversation with Andy Smith of Partizan Brewing and the future of the Bermondsey Beer Mile:

“A lot of Bermondsey is in very close quarters,” he says. “It’s a bit of a cattle market. If you try and extend queues, they’re going to be really long queues, stretching down those roads. And then there are the toilets: that’s a big challenge… For me, it depends on how well it is policed. It is a really challenging decision to be open on that Saturday … Why have they done it on a Saturday? Everyone is going to be so geared up. It’s good for restaurants, where you can get everybody seated properly. But the Bermondsey Beer Mile? It’s a real challenge, but I don’t want to close – it’s not good for the business, and I don’t want to be responsible for creating more carnage elsewhere.”

Illustration: "Odd One Out".

For Good Beer Hunting Stephanie Grant has written about the experience of being the only black person in all-white American brewery taprooms:

I remember the first time I stepped into a brewery about 10 years ago, unsure and precautious as I waded through the sea of White people dressed in white and blue polo shirts and khaki pants. My husband and I made our way through the crowd and ordered with some guidance from the server behind the bar… With my glass in hand, I became more intrigued by the surrounding atmosphere. Everywhere, there were groups of young, White men who looked like the frat guys who roamed the halls of my college. Their postures conveyed how comfortable they were in an environment that was foreign to me. I felt like an outsider, an unwanted guest encroaching on someone’s private space.

Virtual events
SOURCE: Chris Montgomery on Unsplash.

Though not directly related to beer, there’s lots for beer people to learn from this piece at the AV Club on the recent surge in online events. Its three contributors together argue that for disabled and marginalised people, virtual festivals and conferences aren’t a compromise but something close to ideal:

For some, events like concerts, drag shows, and comedy open mics being moved online… has been a windfall, with more live entertainment than ever before now at their disposal. There are a number of reasons why someone might struggle with attending, say, a concert: The venue may not be ADA-compliant, for example, or they may have trouble standing for hours at a time, or they may simply be located far away from a major city without the funds or free time to travel.

Here’s an interesting new development for Bristol: an off-licence dedicated to stocking and serving booze made by women. There’s a piece on Bristol247 explaining the concept.

And finally, from Twitter…

For more good reading, have  a look at Alan’s selection of links from Thursday.