Beer history pubs quotes

QUOTE: Annual Booze-Ups

“These special customs, and especially those associated with the annual booze-ups of New Year’s Eve (when you may kiss almost anybody in public), St Patrick’s Eve, Whitsun, Oak Apple Day, Trinity Sunday, June Holiday and Christmas, are a simple part of the pattern of the year, its pre-industrial, pre-Christian even, background. A background of sowing and reaping, winter death and spring rebirth, a rhythm that, like the rhythm of the week, determines so much of behaviour… now dominates Worktowners who never think what it’s all about or know the difference between wheat and barley.”

Mass Observation, The Pub and the People, 1943.

Beer history pubs quotes

QUOTE: Women in Pubs, 1968

To the Editor of A Monthly Bulletin

The inn life of England is one of the few things that makes me feel optimistic about the future. It seems to me that here there has been real progress since the war. As a woman, sometimes driving long distances alone, I now no longer need to take picnic lunches with all the paraphernalia of thermos flasks and sandwiches. I can have the fun of stopping at an attractive inn — truly they are as nice as your descriptions of them — and enjoy a drink and a sandwich, with no sense of embarrassment as a single woman in a bar. The increase in civilisation in this respect is to me quite remarkable. I remember the time when one entered a dingy tavern, smelling of stale beer only to feel an acute atmosphere of suspicion, not to say hostility. This to me is ‘progress’ in the best sense, and, therefore, very welcome indeed.


From the Brewers’ Society pub propaganda magazine, December 1968. (With thanks to Martyn Cornell for very kindly donating his spare copies.)

Brew Britannia quotes

QUOTE: Outside Influences

“What we had done by hiring an Italian [Stefano Cossi] and Martin [Dickie] straight out of Heriot-Watt was get people who weren’t weighed down by tradition. We’ve continued to hire brewers from overseas, like Kelly Ryan who joined just before Martin Dickie left in 2006, because that helps to keep things fresh, and makes it possible to stay ahead of some of the very good breweries that are now getting established… Each of the brewers we’ve had has left something behind, and we’re still brewing beers created by a Steff, a Martin or a Kelly amongst others…”

Simon Webster, co-founder of Thornbridge, from an interview we conducted in 2013. This is an extended version of a quotation given on p.199 of Brew Britannia.

homebrewing quotes

QUOTE: Craft Brothers, 1967

A cheerful band of drinkers, together we all stand,
Maybe a bit unsteady, with tankards in the hand.
’Prentices or Craft Brothers, we have our little joke,
We are always drinking, but the Publicans go broke!

The final stanza of ‘The Ballad of Boozeldon’ which opens the 1967 home brewing manual Brewing Better Beers by Ken Shales.

pubs quotes

QUOTE: Nairn on Northern Pubs

“The Vines was built in the last year of the [19th] century and every majestic detail is kept up as good as new… Tall and luminous, brown and gold giant pilasters combining elegance with immense force, and huge Victorian paintings between. Sitting in it, you feel ten feet tall, for it is the kind of grandeur that raises you up rather than crushes you. Drinking beer which is both better and cheaper than the metropolitan brew — any kind of Liverpool bitter is a good drop — you realize that London has nothing like this.”

Ian Nairn in the essay ‘Liverpool’ first published in The Listener in 1964 and collected in Britain’s Changing Towns in 1967, reissued and updated in 2013. There’s more information about The Vines on the CAMRA pubs heritage website.