June 15th, 2013
This was a tweet about 7 a.m. this morning. Liv Craft Beer Expo @Livcraftbeerexp Anyone up for some great beers today? #livcraftbeerexp
I replied; @Livcraftbeerexp On way now – excited – feeling like old Legba from Dahomey!
Indeed I was on my way and with great expectations for this event which had been very well promoted; a sell out on the Friday evening and also for the two Saturday sessions.
Just to say the venue was brilliant and the organisation and beers pretty damn good, with only one or two little moans, but heh. Read the rest of this entry »
June 15th, 2013
This weeks Desert Island castaway is Carl Vasta, brewer & co. owner, of Tuatara Brewing Company, Paraparaumu, New Zealand.
Carl and his wife Simone established the Tuatara Brewery Company in 2001 experimenting with home brewery techniques. Carl worked as an engineer, before deciding to pursue his hobby and passion for making beer when the home market was dominated by just two breweries.
Starting with a backyard business in Reikorangi with the idea of selling a few kegs to the local market Carl secured a niche market and a decade+ later he is supplying Tuatara beer all over New Zealand. He also now exports to Australia and the United States, mainly the east coast, and also markets in Asia and Hong Kong.
With sales running at over a million litres a year, production was moved in April 2012 from a collection of sheds on their Reikorangi property to a building in Paraparaumu’s Industrial area. Read the rest of this entry »
June 1st, 2013
This weeks Desert Island castaway is Shawn Sherlock the Head Brewer at Murray’s Craft Brewing Co in Port Stephens, Australia. Shawn is currently the Beer & Brewer Magazine, Brewer of the Year 2012
Like a lot of craft brewers Shawn began his career as an obsessive home-brewer who could be found, every weekend, in his backyard brewing. “It kind of took over my life there for a while,” he says. “And eventually my partner encouraged me to stop pretending to be an academic and to give commercial brewing a crack.” Read the rest of this entry »
May 31st, 2013
Back in January 2012 I wrote under the title, “More Trouble Brewing?” about my impression of a saturated brewery market and possible trouble looming ahead.
Hands up, I was wrong, very wrong. Since then the number of breweries in the U.K has increased exponentially, from a figure of approximately 800 to around 1,100 now, these figures up from just 141 breweries in 1975 and 480 in 1984. And I believe there are also close to a further 100 breweries now in the planning stage. Where is it all going to end!
Before 2002 both (CAMRA) and (SIBA) had been arguing strongly that barriers to market access in the UK brewing industry disadvantaged small brewers and had been actively campaigning for a number of years for the tax concession of (progressive beer duty or PBD) which was given that year, to alleviate the situation. Read the rest of this entry »
May 28th, 2013
The Sahara is not one, but many deserts; the Tuareg call it Tinariwen (“the Deserts”). Among these many deserts in Africa, there is the true desert Ténéré. It is the desert where the Yoruba are said to believe that if a man’s shadow abandons him, he will die. Other deserts are less or more arid, flat or mountainous. I have not visited the former but in 2007 I spent several days crossing the latter, through Mauritania and Western Sahara; that was experience enough and I loved it.
In the Sahara live over 300 species of black beetle. They are everywhere and with no moisture during the daytime they take what they can from the night air. There is one species however which in extremis has developed a miraculous mechanism for survival – it’s a sort of Sisyphean beetle; the Tuareg call it Ngubi. Read the rest of this entry »
May 26th, 2013
Back in September ’12 we started a ‘Kiwi & Oz’ series on Desert Island Beers saying these were exciting times for New Zealand and Australian brewers, with both countries experiencing major growth in “craft” beer sales and the number of “craft” breweries. With this major growth as background we will have featured nearly twenty of our Kiwi & Australian brewing and blogging cousins when the series finishes in the next few weeks.
There is however a similar story closer to home as one of the great things about being a beer drinker in London at the moment is the vibrancy of its beer and brewing scene. We have therefore planned our next series of castaways on Old London Town. Read the rest of this entry »
May 12th, 2013
Cain’s of Liverpool has had a very chequered history, period; especially so since been bought by the former Leicester based Dusanj brothers. I have written about Cain’s and them before; here and here.
The brothers initially bought Cain’s brewery in 2002, but the acquisition of the loss-making pub chain, Honeycombe Leisure in 2007 led to their administration in August 2008 with close to £50m of debts. The brothers subsequently repurchased the brewery and six pubs via a pre-pack, minus the Honeycombe pubs. Read the rest of this entry »
May 4th, 2013
For those not acquainted – mushy peas are green amorphous heaps of leguminous erratic’s.
People of a certain age even with little knowledge of British politics of the past few decades still know that Peter Mandelson once mistakenly referred to mushy peas as guacamole in a Hartlepool fish-and-chip shop. The story goes that he was buying supper at a chippy in his former constituency. He asked for haddock, chips and “some of that guacamole” – mistaking the mushy peas for avocado dip.
It was a perfect Mandelson story, involving his metropolitan tastes and supposed ignorance of working-class life. But of course he never said it; the tale was spurious and put about by Neil Kinnock who claims to have attributed the story as a tease on the hated spin-doctor. Read the rest of this entry »
April 29th, 2013
I have been a long term opponent of minimum pricing; writing on this blog in August 2010 – Minimum pricing of alcohol – The thin end of the wedge and later that year I even appeared on the BBC’s Politics Show talking against the proposal.
Last month David Cameron whilst pledging to stop cheap alcohol being sold in supermarkets did not thankfully commit to minimum pricing. Dave told MPs at Prime Minister’s questions that the government was still examining the results of a consultation; this against mounting speculation that the move he initially personally championed would now be abandoned. A number of cabinet ministers have also recently made clear they now harbour doubts.
Dave’s stance was ridiculed by the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, who joked at the time: “Could the prime minister tell us, is there anything he could organise in a brewery?” Read the rest of this entry »
April 26th, 2013
This post on Desert Island Beers is a real coup as it features none other than Kirrily Waldhorn, Australia’s very own Beer Diva and ‘first lady of beer’; a beer presenter, educator, consultant, writer and judge.
As founder of Beer Diva, Sydney-sider Kirrily travels Australia hosting beer tastings for private and corporate groups; workshops on beer styles and flavours, beer and food matching and beer history; training for bar and restaurant staff and training for chefs matching beer and food.
Her transformation into the Beer Diva started when she was working for brewing company Lion Nathan in the marketing department. She became involved in a project with Lion Nathan brewing boss Bill Taylor, a man who apparently loves a beer and a good feed and is skilled at making sure the two complement each other. That collaboration changed her world. Read the rest of this entry »