They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Gotta Take The Power Back!

I have to apologise. Some of my posts over the past 2 months have been a little negative, and in truth, that's not the sort of person I want or try to be so it's going to stop. So get ready for the feel good post of the year! :)

Take a decent look at the picture below. Yes it's a little out of focus, but I'm sure you can see what it's meant to be.

This is the face of British Beer! (at Beer Ritz anyway)

Two years ago this would have been a much different picture. Look at the colours, (except Kernel) look at the design ((including Kernel).. they just won brewery of the year at the BGBW awards, they can have a bit of teasing)  Three years back, this sort of thing was a bit of a pipe dream. Sure there was brewers doing innovative stuff, but not on scales like this.

A couple of years back, we were still in USA mode, lapping up all they could give. We were were American Beer crazy, on some levels we still are a little bit.

Last year we thought Italian Craft beer was going to really take off in the UK. Unfortunately that didn't really seem to materialize as much as some of us (me) had hoped.

In todays environment, with the huge increase in costs for such loser increases such as the Higher Strength Beer Duty and costs which are being piled on like, transportation and distribution costs, it's not surprising people have started being choosy with their extra cash. We are in a very good position at Beer Ritz to see where in the world people are choosing to spend this money, beer wise.

People are starting to look British. Even more than that, people are starting to look local.

It is a fact that at this moment, people are buying more British beer than ever in our shop. And I'm pretty damn sure it's not just because of price too. You look back at the picture at the top. Our British shelves have never know such outstanding  'desire' appeal. The up and coming brewers are really going all out in delivering the whole package when it comes to their produce. Great design, great range, and really bloody great beer. I'll be perfectly honest, looking at the two sides of our shop, the British section makes the American section look just a little drab at the moment. It may not be obvious from the image above, so you'll just have to come and see for yourselves. And the image isn't even scratching the surface of the British beer scene. In the year 2000, there was around 500 breweries in Britain, now there are over 750 (is this right? I thought there was more...) (a third of which comes from Yorkshire, Woo!). There really has never been a better time to start getting back into, and being proud of, your local beer. It's full of modern design, full of eye catching and clever marketing, and most of all it's still full of tradition.

You can be pro cask or pro keg, but it's not hard to see that cask ale has made a real come back in the last few years. People want it, they want to try new ones, old ones, crazy ones. You only need to visit any CAMRA festival to see that. Even young people want it! I'm young(ish) and I drink it all the time, I can't get enough of the bloody stuff! Others want it too. I've heard great stories of cask going over to the USA, to be drained dry in under a few hours by queuing customers just wanting to get a taste of pure British cask beer.

A couple of years back there was a bit of a void in the British beer scene. That void has been well and truly filled, stuffed, and is bursting out the seams. Some may argue that the movement was started by brewers like Thornbridge and Brewdog, but I say this movement was started by us, the consumer! We are voting with our feet, now more than ever, and people saw this gap in the market and went for the jugular. They gave us what we wanted, gave us great beer - local beer - and at the end of the day it was DAMN GOOD BEER!

We still have something to address though. There is still too much bickering within our own drinking scene. People are still arguing about the pros and cons of Cask vs Keg, drinking at home vs drinking at the pub, macro vs micro, craft vs everything else, etc...
It's time we stopped focusing on the insignificant differences that separate us, and it's time we started focusing on the things that bring us and this great beer drinking nation together! THE LOVE OF GREAT BEER!

And you know the best thing about this British Beer Revolution....

We're just getting started!!!!


  1. Yes, much more than that! There were 840 at the start of summer (according to the good beer guide) and I saw something the other day which said 60 have opened since then. There have certainly been a lot of new breweries cropping up on twitter, some of which aren't even open yet; so we're certainly in a great position British beer choice wise.

    Was excited to find Buxton and The Kernel beers at the Vineyard in Belfast yesterday!

  2. Wunderbar! I'll be in tomorrow, as it happens...Credit Card at the ready!

  3. A wonderful sight...and one that is local to me. The last time I was in Beer Ritz the place was freshly stocked and as you point out, heavy on the British brewery contributions. Love it.

  4. Interesting industry insight, ta.

    It's a happy coincidence (is it?) that the standard of British brewing is on the up as imports become less affordable

    A few years ago, a trip to the British section of a bottle shop would have yielded lots of disappointing bottle-conditioned beers from small breweries which gushed on opening (we tried lots, rarely blogged about them), many of them very similar brown bitters.