Another Award for Brew Britannia

On Saturday, the North American Guild of Beer Writers gave Brew Britannia the top prize in the history/technical category at their annual awards.

You can read the full list of winners in every category here — it includes blogger Bryan Roth, British journalist Will Hawkes, and quite a few people whose work we hadn’t come across before but now look forward to checking out.

A bit of background: as we’re not members, we had to pay to enter this competition — not something we’d usually do, but we figured that we might be in with a shot given Brew Britannia‘s performance at the British Guild awards in December.

Though of course it’s nice to have a pat on the back and our egos stroked, awards have a practical benefit: they are really useful when it comes to pitching books to publishers and, as there is another substantial book we’d really like to write, we need all the help we can get.

You can buy Brew Britannia in various places:

And there’s also a short ‘One Year On’ update available on the blog and as a free e-book.

We Won An Award

We’d like to play it cool but the fact is that we’re delighted to have been named beer writer(s) of the year for 2014 by the British Guild of Beer Writers.

As it’s part of our M.O. to keep a bit of distance (literally, since moving to Cornwall) we’ve never joined the Guild but, laudably, the awards are open to everyone, free of charge, and with no especially restrictive rules. We figured that if we were ever going to win anything, 2014 would be the year, and so we entered ourselves in two categories for both the blog and book.

Winning what insiders call ‘the big gong’ was an incredible surprise made all the sweeter because the panel included people with whom we haven’t had had any dealings and who aren’t in ‘the beer bubble’. In other words, they don’t owe us anything, and if they liked Brew Britannia, it is presumably because it stood on its own merits.

We don’t know what happens next. We’d like to write another book, though we haven’t yet found a topic which is both exciting to us and to potential publishers. We don’t really want to write a list book or beginner’s guide, although we have given some thought to whether there might be any new and genuinely interesting angles from which to approach such a project.

Mostly for fun, we’re going to keep chipping away at the subject of lager, and might follow up Gambrinus Waltz with an ebook about Skol and Carlsberg in the 1960s and 70s.

We’re also going to keep up the quarterly #BeeryLongReads, perhaps using the next one (28 February 2015) as an opportunity to start filling in details of the Brew Britannia story. For example, we didn’t have space to write about Williams Bros in the book, but their pioneering 1990s experiments with unusual ingredients is very much ‘proto craft’ and deserves a bit of attention.

Our fortnightly columnettes for the Guardian Guide are set to continue for the foreseeable and, for Christmas, we’ve been asked to expand it to a comparatively luxurious 200 words.

And, of course, we intend to keep spouting off here on the blog as near to every day as we can manage, five years of which, learning to string sentences together and accumulating knowledge, preceded us even thinking about putting pen to paper at book length.

UPDATE 05/12/2014 12:55: it turns out we also came second in the online communications category, behind Martyn Cornell. Blimey!

Brew Britannia Update

cover_final_march_200Reviews have been coming in thick and fast this week:

  • Zak Avery — “It’s a fascinating tale of peculiarly British pluck and pioneering spirit, all washed down with lots of great beer. “
  • Jeff Evans (Inside Beer) — “…perhaps the greatest asset they bring to the project is a degree of objectivity. “
  • Leigh Linley — “Brew Britannia is an excellent book; investigative, frank, even-handed and, above all, vital to both the beer geek and the neophyte alike.”
  • Rowan Molyneux — “Brew Britannia doesn’t just fill in the gaps in the landscape, it gets out its felt tips, adds trees, houses, and little cartoon dogs, then colours everything in very carefully without going over the lines.”
  • Tandleman — “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 fascinating and educational.”
  • Adrian Tierney-Jones — “Brew Britannia is a fascinating odyssey through the last half-century of British beer and I would recommend this without a moment’s thought.” (Read his review for the ‘but’, though…)

Suffice to say, we’re delighted with the response so far.

Though the official launch isn’t until 19 June, we understand that Amazon are currently dispatching copies.

We’ve added a few London events to our tour calendar: do come and say hello at BrewDog Camden on Sunday 15 June, 1-3 pm; or at the King’s Arms, E2, on Friday 20 June, from 7-9 pm.

And, finally, the Amazon Kindle version is now available to pre-order at £6.17 (less than half the price of the paperback) and we are told that it will also be released in other e-book formats (e.g. Nook, Apple) fairly shortly.