About Brew Britannia


BGBW_gold_162On 5 Decem­ber 2014, the British Guild of Beer Writ­ers award­ed Brew Bri­tan­nia the gold tankard for nation­al media and named us beer writer(s) of the year. Will Hawkes, the chair of judges, said:

It took some­thing very spe­cial to beat Mark’s effort but we think it was one of the most impor­tant beer books of recent years. It’s engross­ing, easy to read, and full of good nuggets. It tells the tale well – a tale that helps to explain how exact­ly we got here. It’s a book that deserves to be read well beyond the beer bub­ble.

GourmandAnd, on 9 Jan­u­ary 2015, we were told that Gour­mand Awards had named Brew Bri­tan­nia ‘Best Beer Book’ in the UK. (Link fea­tures hilar­i­ous typo – ‘Jes­si­ca Berk’.) They’ll be mak­ing a pub­lic announce­ment of the full list of world­wide win­ners in Feb­ru­ary, but this means that it goes into con­sid­er­a­tion for the world’s best beer book award, to be announced in Yan­tai, Chi­na, on 9 June.

On 27 Sep­tem­ber 2015 the North Amer­i­can Guild of Beer Writ­ers (NAGBW) gave Brew Bri­tan­nia top prize in the his­to­ry cat­e­go­ry of their annu­al awards.

Brew Britannia: the strange rebirth of British beer is an entertaining account of how British beer got its mojo back after the low point of the 1960s and 70s, packed with facts, stories and eccentric characters.

If you’ve got even a pass­ing inter­est in beer, or British cul­tur­al his­to­ry, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it – we worked hard to ensure it’s both rig­or­ous and read­able.

It’s also the per­fect father’s day, moth­er’s day, Christ­mas or birth­day gift for the beer-lover in your life.

Available from:


Brew Bri­tan­nia, includ­ing illus­tra­tions and pho­tographs, is also avail­able for Ama­zon Kin­dle, Apple iBook and Kobo.

And here’s what the critics and readers have to say…

We need this account, in this form, if we are to ful­ly under­stand where beer is today, how it got here, and from there, to start to spec­u­late about where it might go next… this is a book that I wish I had writ­ten, but was beat­en to it by peo­ple who have done a bet­ter job than I would have.” Pete Brown

one of the most impor­tant books on beer to be released in the last ten years… If you’re even remote­ly into beer I would advise pick­ing up a copy imme­di­ate­ly and get­ting stuck in straight away.” Matt Cur­tis

Well writ­ten – but I’d expect no less from them – and with loads of good sto­ries about the indi­vid­u­als who drove the quest for bet­ter beer. It kept me enter­tained even while my arse was aching from hours of sit­ting.” Ron Pat­tin­son

This is an exhil­a­rat­ing read, well researched, in the main objec­tive, and encom­pass­ing the views of many impor­tant play­ers in the great beer revival of the past 40 years.” Roger Protz

I haven’t devoured a book about beer so quick­ly and enjoy­ably since five years ago, when I read Pete Brown’s own social his­to­ry of beer … sneak­ing off to read a cou­ple of chap­ters in every lunch break… The authors suc­ceed in telling a sto­ry of fas­ci­nat­ing and human char­ac­ters.” The Beer Pro­le

The vast amount of research that went into it is very appar­ent, with a wide array of doc­u­men­tary evi­dence cit­ed, as well as first-per­son inter­views with almost all the main char­ac­ters, pro­vid­ing nev­er-before-seen infor­ma­tion and view­points… For a his­to­ry book set most­ly in my own life­time on a sub­ject I’m very inter­est­ed in, I can point out almost no omis­sions.” The Beer Nut

A fas­ci­nat­ing tale of pecu­liar­ly British pluck and pio­neer­ing spir­it, all washed down with lots of great beer.” Zak Avery

Brew Bri­tan­nia is a fas­ci­nat­ing odyssey through the last half-cen­tu­ry of British beer and I would rec­om­mend this with­out a moment’s thought.” Adri­an Tier­ney-Jones

Where the book excels, is in the pulling togeth­er of a non-lin­ear sto­ry of change into a nar­ra­tive of char­ac­ters, key peo­ple and events. Those that are famil­iar with the sto­ry, and those that are not, and those that have even the most pass­ing inter­est in British beer and brew­ing will equal­ly find it fas­ci­nat­ing and edu­ca­tion­al.” Tan­dle­man

[Boak and Bai­ley] – like all good his­to­ri­ans – are keen to go back to orig­i­nal sources. They speak to the peo­ple who were there at the time, the movers and the shak­ers in this remark­able renais­sance of British beer.” Jeff Evans

Brew Bri­tan­nia is an excel­lent book; inves­tiga­tive, frank, even-hand­ed and, above all, vital to both the beer geek and the neo­phyte alike.” Leigh Lin­ley

Brew Bri­tan­nia has, in explor­ing thep­ast, got me think­ing about the future – but aside from all of that, it’s a bloody enjoy­able and inter­est­ing read, and one which I will dip back into for ref­er­ence time and time again.” Rowan Molyneux

It is an excel­lent and enjoy­able book which real­ly is essen­tial read­ing for any­one want­i­ng to under­stand the devel­op­ment of the spe­cial­ist beer mar­ket in Britain over the past forty years.” The Pub Cur­mud­geon

For any­one inter­est­ed in beer’s mod­ern renais­sance, it’s a quirky, com­pre­hen­sive read, filled both with obscure infor­ma­tion and more essen­tial facts.” Saveur Mag­a­zine

An excel­lent guide to the jour­ney British beer has tak­en in the past half-cen­tu­ry, well worth read­ing whether you lived through it or not, sim­ply to under­stand where we are now.” Mar­tyn Cor­nell

It’s not just a great book, it’s an impor­tant one for the time we live in. My advice is: don’t wait a few years before read­ing it. The lessons that can be learned from Brew Bri­tan­nia are best appre­ci­at­ed right now.” Chris Hall

Buy this book. It is one of the strongest and most enter­tain­ing bits of writ­ing about good beer that has come out in recent years…” Alan McLeod

A metic­u­lous­ly researched, detailed account of the ‘rebirth’ of British beer, and how a con­tin­u­al parade of enthu­si­asts, pro­fes­sion­al and ama­teur, helped get British brew­ing back on its feet… tremen­dous…” Richard Tay­lor

If you’ve even only a fleet­ing inter­est in how it is your choice of beer in pubs is as wide as it is these days, you should pick up this book and digest its con­tents over a pint or two.” Caught by the Riv­er

Brew Bri­tan­nia serves two mas­ters — those who want to read scores of delight­ful sto­ries about peo­ple who care, sto­ries that togeth­er pro­vide mean­ing­ful con­text; and those who twen­ty or six­ty or how many ever years in the future are going to come look­ing for a source they can trust.” Stan Hierony­mus

At this point the writ­ing and the sto­ry­telling is what mat­ters.… And the blog­ging pair are great at that. I didn’t know a lot of the peo­ple in the book, or the places, or the beer. But, jeez, I loved read­ing this book. When I bought it, I hon­est­ly expect­ed to skip pages here and there due to a lack of inter­est in the sub­ject. But I didn’t – read every damn page.” Glen Humphries

I find if you pick up a book and, in a few pages, are eas­i­ly drawn in, then the chances are, that for your tastes at least, you have an emi­nent­ly read­able book in your hands. This was my expe­ri­ence with Brew Bri­tan­nia by Jes­si­ca Boak and Ray Bai­ley… Whether you agree with the road they fol­low or the con­clu­sion they reach, that is up to you. That’s the point of books, to stim­u­late your lit­tle grey cells. It’s their view of how beer came back from the brink and it’s very much read­able for that.” John Cryne, for­mer CAMRA chair­man, in the Lon­don Drinker

Brew Bri­tan­nia is a well-researched, eas­i­ly-read­able plea­sure deserv­ing of the atten­tion of a wider read­er­ship than keen beer drinkers.” Jeff Pick­thall, Brew­ery His­to­ry

We’ve enjoyed a num­ber of good beer books in the last few years, but none can touch Brew Bri­tan­nia in terms of pure enter­tain­ment.  If you have even the slight­est inter­est in Eng­lish beer, you’ll real­ly enjoy it.  (Even peo­ple who are inter­est­ed main­ly in Amer­i­can craft brew­eries will find it inter­est­ing because of the con­trast it offers to our sto­ry.)  And for peo­ple like Ted Sobel (and me), it is an absolute must-read.” Jeff Alworth, Beer­vana

Brew Bri­tan­nia,  is impres­sive. It is a sto­ry of busi­ness­es that thrive or fail, of con­sumer rebel­lion, of enthu­si­asm and orga­ni­za­tion­al strife. And, giv­en the top­ic, a sto­ry of Eng­lish eccen­tric­i­ty told in such a way that a smile and a chuck­le is nev­er far away.… Go ahead. This won’t end up on the shelf with the unread beer books. And it’s in paper­back, mean­ing you can read it on the bus, which is more than you can say about the heav­ier tomes full of glossy pho­tos.” Knut Albert

It’s a journalist’s book, in the best sense of the word: they’ve done the work, they’ve got the facts right (as far as I can tell) and, most impor­tant­ly, they’ve found a way in to the sto­ry… It’s a fine book. If you’ve read this far and you haven’t got a copy, you prob­a­bly should; I don’t think you’ll regret it.” Phil Edwards

Innocent bystanders

  • It will help you under­stand why every­one is sud­den­ly going on about bloody beer all the bloody time.
  • It’s like a book about pop music, just with beer, which means you won’t have read these sto­ries a mil­lion times before, unlike that one about how Paul McCart­ney com­posed ‘Yes­ter­day’.
  • It’s as much about changes in British soci­ety in the last half-cen­tu­ry as it is about booze. (Reject­ed sub­ti­tle: ‘How British beer became mid­dle class.’)
  • It will def­i­nite­ly make you thirsty.
  • Foot­note fans: it’s based on research rather than guess­work with sources cit­ed through­out.
  • Foot­note haters: they’re actu­al­ly unob­tru­sive end­notes!

No home is complete...

Beer geeks

  • It will pro­vide you with ammu­ni­tion to win impor­tant argu­ments on the inter­net.
  • You will learn things from Brew Bri­tan­nia that you would­n’t know with­out spend­ing two years in libraries and con­duct­ing inter­views: we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to.
  • It is not a cof­fee table book which is the size of an actu­al cof­fee table: it will fit in your pock­et, and is there­fore per­fect for read­ing in pub and bars. (Its attrac­tive cov­er design will only be enhanced by the addi­tion of beer stains, pork-scratch­ing dust and tear-drops.)
  • It is high­ly like­ly that you will dis­agree with some of the con­clu­sions we have reached – plea­sur­able in itself, but also a pos­si­ble source of angry posts on your beer blog.
  • It answers once and for all the great ques­tion of our age: cask or keg? (Sort of.)
  • The bib­li­og­ra­phy and end­notes will direct you to suf­fi­cient read­ing mate­r­i­al for the next five years.


  • This is it – your chance to tell us that some­thing we’ve worked real­ly hard on ‘isn’t to your taste’, or is ‘meh’. We’ll have no come­back because you’ll have paid for it (unlike this blog) mak­ing you The Cus­tomer and there­fore always right.
  • On a more pos­i­tive note, it might help you under­stand your place in British beer his­to­ry and dis­cov­er some new idols… which would be nice. It will cer­tain­ly make a nice addi­tion to the book­shelf in the brew­ery toi­let.

Order now from Ama­zon UK, Ama­zon USBlack­well’sFoyle’s and Water­stones.

Coupon from vintage advertisement.