Blog: The Great British Beer Booze-Up
Chris Mercer | 3 August 2011
I struggled to enjoy myself this week at The Great British Beer Festival and it doesn't have anything to do with the taste of beer.
I love the idea of The Great British Beer Festival; I think that it's good for the industry-at-large that the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is able to showcase so many small-scale cask ales in one place - and even (whisper it) quite a few bottled beers.
So, why is it that I always emerge from Earl's Court in London with a sense of disappointment?
This year, after another night roaming the bars, I think I've nailed it. The atmosphere of the place stinks, literally if you stay there till closing. From the concrete floors to the giant wheelie bins parked in the aisles to the amount of people who clearly can't handle as much beer as they thought to the way that CAMRA bangs on about food matching only to allow people to sit on the floor eating out of takeaway boxes.
Both my girlfriend and (I'm sure he won't mind me saying this) managing editor Olly Wehring's 'Mrs Wehring' have vowed never to attend the Great British Beer Festival again - after one visit each. My fear for the industry is that more people think the same: whole swathes of potential beer drinkers instantly alienated, leaving the same old rump to soldier on.
I don't dislike CAMRA. Like most other beer drinkers, I think they've played a very important role in keeping an interesting section of the beer industry alive. And, it's a body founded on conservation, so it's not hard to see why tradition is so fundamental to its thinking.
That said, I think the CAMRA of today needs to look at what is happening. There's a whole new generation of people interested in beer. They want to get involved, but some parts of the industry are in danger of allowing these people to slip through the net.
The Great British Beer Festival an advert for beer? My head says 'yes', but my eyes say 'no'.
Philadelphia’s soda tax came into force on Sunday, and is reportedly causing a stir in the city's check-out aisles....
Earlier this month, I was most-kindly invited by Accolade Wines to visit the Royal Albert Hall in London. The reason? They wanted to see a tennis great in action, and then give them a guided tour thro...
Do you like whisk(e)y? And, I mean, really like whisk(e)y? Are you at a loose end in the first half of 2017? If so, then I've found just the job for you....
Most of the time, changes at the top of a company present themselves in press releases, stock exchange filings or responses from a spokesperson....
- Interview - Pernod Ricard's luxury director
- What's coming up in wine in 2017? - Comment
- Chile's winemakers caught out by Brexit "disease"
- The just-drinks Analyst - 2017 forecasts
- The Cognac Category - Everything you need to know
- Diageo Australia names new commercial head
- Edrington readies Americas, GTR exec switches
- Suntory sends staff to fat camp - report
- High-end Cognac making recovery in China - Pernod
- "Beer and weed are complements" - analyst
- The Next Seven Big Beverage Markets
- Global vodka insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global Cognac insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Darker Than Before: Global Prospects for Brown Spirits
- Global gin insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends