News, nuggets and longreads 11 March 2023: Earthly delights

Here’s all the writing about beer and pubs that leapt out at us in the past seven days, from Belgian brewers to Budweiser.

First, some news, from the ‘you love to see it’ file. Developers who knocked down the historic Punch Bowl Inn in Lancashire have been fined and given a year to rebuild it, brick-by-brick, at an estimated cost of £1.5 million. As the Guardian reports…

District Judge Alex Boyd said the ruling would act as a deterrent to others considering illegal demolitions. “The purpose of these requirements is to protect the building for current and future generations to enjoy.”

Across the Thames to Wapping.

In the latest edition of his excellent newsletter David Jesudason writes about the perfect East End desi pub and his outrage about its omission from previous pub guides:

The Sam & Nam… has brown wooden floorboards, panelling and a long bar (with coat hooks) with a terrace that offers unforgettable views of the Thames from the north bank. It’s so close to the river that when a boat rushes past you can hear the waves lap against the sea wall. Near to the Overground (Wapping) it has a diverse clientele and when I visit there’s a mixture of Punjabi, Hindi and English being spoken… Unlike most desi pubs, it doesn’t serve food – it’s like an old East End pub – I even think there’s a criminal element here but for the normal punter there’s no chance of trouble. If anything it means there’s always drama and the regulars have stories to tell – sometimes the gossip is from Indian villages.

(There’s a twist and lots to think about.)

A pint of beer on a pub table.
SOURCE: Lisa Grimm.

For her Dublin pub guide Lisa Grimm has a report on a bar that sounds like an outpost of Craftonia, The Big Romance:

Although in some respects it seems you could pick up the whole of The Big Romance and transplant it to parts of Brooklyn or Manchester without anyone noticing – certainly, the clientele looks pretty similar when it comes to beards, tattoos and hair colour – and yes, I’m very much aware my own purple hair is adding to this stereotype – there are still uniquely ‘Dublin’ touches about it that make it very much at home in this city, and that starts (for me, anyway) with the beer… Barring tap takeovers – and this is one of the few places in Dublin where visiting breweries do such things relatively regularly – the tap list is usually majority-Whiplash, and it always has Guinness and Hofbräu for those who only want to adventure with their ears…

A smiling woman in a brewery.
SOURCE: Brussels Beer City/Eoghan Walsh.

Eoghan Walsh has kicked off another project: Women of Brussels Beer Volume 2. The first post is about Morane Le Hiress of Janine Boulangerie-Brasserie:

A biologist by training, she studied integrative biology and physiology (among other subjects) at university in Paris before securing a PhD for research in the field of pulmonary hypertension. Her post-doctoral research – into heart failure and cardiomyopathy – was coming to an end, and she wasn’t sure whether she wanted to continue down the pharmaceutical rabbit hole. For her birthday that year Le Hiress had received as a present a four-hour course in brewing. “That’s where I really started to understand, to know how beer was brewed,” she says, adding that there were some complementarities between her work in the lab and in the brewery. “So I started to make my little beer at home, to take an interest in this community.”

A bar selling Budweiser.
SOURCE: Dan Diav on Unsplash.

For VinePair Dave Infante has written about what’s going on at AB-InBev as it pulls away from the craft beer market it’s spent a decade muscling in on:

It’s been a rough few weeks for the brands in Anheuser-Busch InBev’s erstwhile craft-brewing portfolio. The company has laid off an unknown number of workers from at least a half-dozen formerly independent breweries across the country, and effectively shuttered one entirely. Insiders speculate there are more cuts on the horizon for ABI’s microbrewing-by-proxy business unit, which has struggled mightily as tailwinds turned to headwinds on the overall American craft beer segment over the past half-decade. It’s a shocking reversal for a company that was buying craft breweries and touting their innovation potential as recently as 2019 — or it would be, if this fall weren’t the predictable result of overextension, underappreciation, and macrobrewer brand mismanagement that took place in plain view.

And Jeff Alworth at Beervana has some additional notes on the same subject.

The cover of a zine called Service Please!
SOURCE: Burum Collective.

The team at Burum Collective is working on a zine about working in hospitality. This is a great idea and fills a gap in the market. Also, zines are an underexplored form in writing about beer and pubs. Here’s how you can get involved:

This project will be funded via our Patreon, through any kind one-off donations from companies who wish to help and through pre-sales of the zine… We will be asking for a lot of help for this project, either via people contributing to the zine itself or for its launch and distribution. Any shares on social media when this happens will be very much appreciated… The aim of this project is to get the zine and the information it contains into as many hospitality venues as possible. If you work for a company who distributes a product to hospitality venues and would be happy to include Service, Please! in said distributions OR a space that would like to display/sell the zine when it is ready please get in touch…

Finally, from Twitter…

…and as far as Mastodon goes, we’re just going to suggest checking out the #beer hashtag, which is mostly people sharing pictures of pints they’re enjoying.

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

2 replies on “News, nuggets and longreads 11 March 2023: Earthly delights”

There have been redundancies at Camden Town brewery in Enfield and equipment moved to ABInBev’s mega factory at Magor.

Why is the retraction in ABInBev’s craft portfolio due to ABInBev’s mgmt failings while the retraction in US and UK craft is rarely ascribed to trade ownership? Isn’t all that’s happening is the combo of general economic difficulties plus “happy clappy craft” fatigue?

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