News, nuggets and longreads 17 September 2022: Numbers

It’s Saturday morning which means it’s time for our regular round-up of beer-related links, this week including lots of news and numbers.

We were sad to hear that Nomadic Beers of Leeds is winding up, citing the burden of debt from the difficult COVID period, along with the rising costs of ingredients and power. We tend to remind people that breweries come and go, and that every closure isn’t necessarily a sign of impending industry-wide doom, but… this does feel significant. See also these notes on the financial side of running Tom’s Tap and Brew in Crewe from Sean Ayling:

I was paying £680 a tonne for pale malt in 2020 and £793 in 2022. Other brewers I’ve been talking to have been quoted between £1000 and £1200 for 2023… Now the big one, electricity. We have different suppliers for the bar and the brewery. I was paying 15p per KWh in 2020, this year it went up to 29p until July whereupon it went up to 43p where it will stay until next June…

Red rimmed casks at the museum in Burton.

And a bit more bad news: Molson Coors has announced its intention to close the National Brewery Centre in Burton. Colston Crawford covers the story for the Derby Telegraph with input from Roger Protz who says: “Our brewing heritage is being destroyed by people with no roots in the traditions of Burton and the wider brewing community… We need another campaign to save the noble history of brewing in Burton.”

Magic Rock Brewing

Mark Johnson has been reflecting on Magic Rock, a once beloved brewery that got taken over and spat out again and is now, apparently, a shadow of its former self. He writes:

Interference from corporate brought the horrible branding change to Magic Rock, that nobody who has been drinking their beers for ten years likes. Interference brought an end or reduction to such beloved beers as Rapture – the favourite beer of original founder Rich – as it was deemed a slow supermarket seller. Interference brought about the 3-year hiatus of the Cannonball Run… That same Interference brought a name change to one of the beers in the 2022 run; Unhuman Cannonball changed to Super Human Cannonball. It shows that marketers do sometimes know some things best, as this is a much better name and probably should have been the one from the beginning. But it wasn’t. It had a name. And changes like this only increased cynicism.

A woman behind a pub bar.
Miss Furey behind the bar, 1963. SOURCE: National Library of Ireland on Flickr.

At Beer (History) Food Travel Liam provides notes on “women’s houses” in Ireland, prompted by this newspaper report from 1898:

“Father O’Leary, for nineteen years chaplain of Cork Prison, giving evidence before the Royal Commission on the Licensing Laws, stated that one of the worst aspects of the drink evil was that women, especially married women, obtained drink to a shocking extent in public-houses which were known as “women’s houses.” Batches of women might be seen on Monday mornings and Saturday some with babies in their arms and others leading little children by the hand. These sat about on the benches or stood at the bars, many in a state of intoxication, while their homes were neglected and their older children allowed to roam the streets without control.”


Al Reece at Fuggled gives us a reminder of a key purpose of beer descriptors and beer styles: to help consumers work out what they’re about to drink. One beer in particular rather confused Al:

The name didn’t really help much either, was it a helles or was it a festbier? Of course, festbier is basically a strong helles, so again we are perhaps going round in unnecessary circles. I wanted to know though as it is the time of year when I gather up as many märzens and festbiers that I can lay my hands on for my annual Oktoberfest Maß Tasting. Anyway, a quick text to the brewer and it is being marketed as a helles, a 5.5% abv helles, hopped with 30 IBUs of Hallertau… According to the GABF style guidelines, the booze is spot on, but the hopping is too much for the Munich Helles style. The BJCP guidelines on the other hand have it both too strong and having too many IBUs.

A map of Britain coloured in with highlighter.
SOURCE: Martin Taylor.

Martin Taylor has finally done it – he’s visited every pub in the current edition of The Good Beer Guide. That’s 4,501 pubs ticked. There’s a short, triumphant, slightly exhausted post marking this milestone but, really, you should go digging back through the archive to find out more.

Finally, from Twitter…

For more good reading check out Stan Hieronymus’s round-up from Monday and Alan McLeod’s from Thursday.

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