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'.
It would appear that the folk at the UK arm of Carlsberg have this year found the 'gimmicky' drawer in the marketing office....
It's a popular grizzle and one I'll admit to having on at least one or two occasions… a day. Why do people post photos of their food and/or drink on to my social media feed?...
After a 2014 it'll want to forget, Treasury Wine Estates has some good news....
The garden shed is usually home to some spiders, a lawnmower and a few half-empty paint tins. ...
- Focus - Diageo's FY Performance by Region
- It's not all bad for Diageo - Analysis
- Diageo " knew United Spirits would be complicated”
- Focus - Diageo's FY Performance by Brand
- Diageo upbeat on Scotch prospects
- Challenges remain as Diageo posts flat FY sales
- Edrington appoints new board director
- Britvic appoints SABMiller's Dunn as CFO
- Heineken ups sales, profits despite volume squeeze
- Whyte & Mackay brings RumChata to UK
- Global gin insights - market data, product innovation and consumer trends research
- Global rum insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends research
- Global Scotch whisky insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends research
- Global Tequila insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends research
- Global cachaca insights - market data, product innovation and consumer trends research