Here’s everything on beer and pubs that grabbed our attention in the past seven days, from reopening to riots.
How quickly we went from worrying about overcrowding in newly reopened pubs to worrying about their lack of customers. The Guardian reports that sales are down about 40% on this time last year – hardly surprising when capacity is down by at least the same amount in most pubs. Some pubs have found themselves worryingly empty. All things being aligned, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, we think we’re going to go to a pub tomorrow.
For The Social, poet and writer Will Burns concludes a series of posts on lockdown life with a piece about the reopening of the ‘village’ pub:
In the Lantern, the seating has been re-organised, spaced out, more tables set up outside. Hand-sanitiser on a small round table by the gents, behind the bar. Bottles of disinfectant to hand. The dray has delivered its first beer since the closure all those weeks ago, the cellar organised, the whole place as clean as I can remember it being. The rooms have taken on something of their old aspect, seem to anticipate the coming of people, of conversation, of the obscure meaning communal spaces somehow communicate. Chairs are back behind tables, the evidence of our domestic life here moved back upstairs, back out of sight.
For Pellicle, Chris Smith has spoken about the reinvention of Digbeth, a former industrial district in Birmingham, as part of the city’s food and drink scene:
A scattering of small businesses—a furniture workshop, an electronics store and a 3D candy printer—sit among graffiti tags, metal shutters and numerous “To Let” signs. Stepping over a cobbled pathway in Birmingham’s historic manufacturing district, I arrive at Dig Brew Co. It’s the area’s first and only craft brewery and a new cornerstone of an area undergoing widespread renewal.
As a former marketing man, Pete Brown is well equipped to sniff out bullshit and this week turned his attention to AB-InBev’s claims about the origins of the name of Brazilian lager Brahma:
[A] made-up story, that doesn’t make any sense and has no foundation in historical records, falsely claims a Swiss brewer working in Brazil named his business after a bloke from Barnsley, on the grounds that he invented something that doesn’t exist, because it was getting confused with something he is often credited with inventing, but in fact never did… AB-InBev’s skill in layering bullshit upon falsehood upon ignorance upon misunderstanding is almost admirable.
Beer historian Brian Alberts is a great addition to the regular roster of writers at Good Beer Hunting as this piece on the Munich beer riots of 1844 demonstrates:
One chilly November morning in 1843, Bavarian gendarmes—police—noticed a crowd standing conspicuously on the Isar River Bridge. Scores of journeymen and day laborers crossed that bridge daily, which connected central Munich to the Au, Haidhausen, and Giesing—working-class neighborhoods technically outside the city limits… Someone had tacked a paper note to one of the bridge’s stones, and those workers had taken notice. There was no signature. The script was untidy, reflecting an undereducated hand, but the message was clear. Beer was too expensive.
Who can resist a good detective story? The team at Dublin by Pub got obsessed with identifying the pub in a promotional photo of a member of Depeche Mode from 1983. Stopping at nothing, from tracking down the original magazine in which it appeared to stalking the photographer on Facebook, the key to the mystery eventually came with the recent death of football legend:
Ireland is set into grief and mourning upon the announcement of the death of Jack Charlton. I’m watching the news that night and in the middle of one of the many reports on Jack, they roll a clip of him holding a trophy on front of a pane of very familiar looking stained glass… I pull the image down from the RTE Player to compare it to that from 1983 and find that Jack’s one unarguably has only the 2 initials – J and C. No sign of a T to be seen. And it appears to be in a house, as opposed to a pub. So, I google Jack Charlton Stained Glass and the glorious floodgates open.
A visual treat: for St. Louis Magazine, Chris Naffziger compiles photographs of a 19th century German-style beer garden:
The longtime residents of St. Louis were apparently surprised at the arrival of German immigrants that began around 1840 and their habit of public drinking outdoors in large gatherings, as this 1857 Republican newspaper article attests. But these beer gardens were not simply about drinking their new lager beer; for German immigrants, these new social gathering places were critical components of politics and culture.
Finally, from Twitter, there’s this:
Absolutely obsessed with these photos of the Sporting Club in South Bank, Middlesbrough from the early 1970s. Banging colour schemes, furniture, lighting, fashion, the lot. What a club. pic.twitter.com/oFgkjUZsxz
— Tourism Teesside (@tourismteesside) July 16, 2020
For more good reading, check out Alan McLeod’s Thursday round-up.