News, Nuggets & Longreads 13 Feb 2016

From Licensed Victuallers to Budweiser here’s all the beer-related reading that’s caught our attention in the past seven days.

→ For the Morning Advertiser Phil Mellows has written a fantastic piece answering a question that we’ve asked in the past: what on earth happened to the once mighty Licensed Victuallers’ Associations?

“We were the champions of licensees, we fought battles with brewers and we were always on the end of the telephone if members needed help or guidance,” says former Norwich and Norfolk LVA chairman Mike Lorenz. “But five or six years ago, membership started falling away dramatically and events were poorly attended. Today, organisations like the BII (British Institute of Innkeeping) can offer more benefits. LVAs are not needed.”

→ For US magazine All About Beer Heather Vandenengel writes about ‘The Reality of Being a Woman in the Beer Industry’. It’s a good read because the interviewees are not the Usual Suspects — production brewer Irena Bierzynski’s comments are particularly interesting — but wouldn’t it be good to read more articles about women in beer that aren’t pointedly about Women in Beer?

Beer history pubs

No Voice for ‘Licensed Victuallers’?

Pub, South London: 'Take Courage'.

Fifty years ago, publicans seemed to have a vocal and powerful union on their side — where has it gone?

Reading old editions of the Morning Advertiser from the 1960s and 70s, we were fascinated by the National Union of Licensed Victuallers, which combined belligerent battling for its members with a cycle of lavish banquets.

But in recent debates about the future of pubs, pub companies and ‘the tie’, publicans  have been represented by their own campaign groups, and to some extent by CAMRA and sympathetic MPs — not, as far as we have noticed, by what is now known as the FLVA.

Can anyone explain the politics behind the apparent withering away of their influence? Or point us to a book or article which might explain?

We note that the FLVA’s evidence to the Government’s committee argued in favour of retaining the tie, which presumably put them at odds with many of the publicans they might be expected to represent.

We also wondered whether subscriptions to the NLVA might historically have been subsidised by the Big Six breweries.

Or maybe unions (and banquets) just went out of fashion?

Note: we haven’t done serious research on this so really have no idea if there were multiple national organisations, how they related to each other, or what that the family tree looks like.