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

Sunday 14 August 2011

Another Cumbrian Brewery

No we're not talking about that one we all know and love.... we're talking about Jennings! Yes, Jennings.... remember them? Well you should, they make some fantastic beers. One only has to partake of some Sneck Lifter to be reminded of that.

Cocker Hoop is their 4.2% Golden Pale Ale. The name comes from, not just a take on the place of origin - Cockermouth - the "Gem town of Cumbria", but also the 'cock' (tap) and 'hoop' were parts of a beer barrel. The brewery also lies on the banks of the River Cocker, so take the meaning that suits you best. It's a delicious golden ale. Aromas of light drying straw and a touch of nuttiness spring forth from a rocky, chalky foam. A real thirst-quencher, it will refresh any. Light, slightly floral and with a nice malty character to remind you of those summer picnics by the riverside.

What slightly confuses me though is this: There seems (to me) to be a need of a few brewers to modernize everything about their beers apart form the beer itself.  I am speaking of course about the packaging. I think a few people are a bit too quick to make their beer labels and bottles more streamlined, more flashy, more shiny - to maybe appeal to the younger market? or just to revamp their brand? I don't know. Change is good if it's needed, but Jennings has been going since 1828 and I don't see signs of them slowing down, and change just for the sake of change I consider to be a pointless exercise. Especially if your beers used to look as good as this!:

I think this looks great. I don't know about anyone else, but the new one looks just a bit duff in comparison. I'm not talking about the beer though remember, just about the branding. I can be a little confident that the recipe has not changed, so I'd really like to know why the image of the beer has changed over time. Could it be possible that a few brewers are a little quick to change the branding of their beers without even considering how great they look already?

Take this for another example, it has been talked about before in the past by a few bloggers. Take a good look at the two, which do you think is better? I know for certain which one I would prefer to buy!

Maybe I'm just being a little too nostalgic, but I don't really care, I love being nostalgic! As I take my final sips of my Cocker Hoop, I will bring it back to Jennings. These pictures were taken from a well loved book from the shop:

Jennings Cocker Hoop is in there. So according to Michael Jackson it's a classic brew. And that's the end of discussion! You don't get to argue with that. Fact!

In our ever increasingly changing world, is new really going to be better in some cases? I know the recently refurbished Arndale center down the road from us is already turing into massive disaster in  my eyes. The new tiles are already chipped and broken, the white paving already covered in  graffiti and the night before. I don't know how long the old Arndale center stood, but I'm pretty sure it still would have outlived the new one!

My final thought would be this: sure you can change things, but make sure you bloody do it right!


  1. Much prefer the traditional branding myself as well - perhaps that explains my ennui toward certain breweries?

    I wish Jenning's were more common a sight over here, a pint of Sneck Lifter would hit the spot perfectly right now.

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  3. I'm glad you agree Velky, I'm a little tired of breweries with amazing looking labels ruining them by making them more shiny! Can you imagine if a brewery like Orval tried to change its labels?!?!

  4. Do you really think that the old bottle of White Shield looked better? The new bottles look fantastic, the old one looked a bit naff to be honest.

    I agree the Cocker Hoop looked better with the old design, but lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The new White Shield is fantastic looking bottle, much improved on the old design IMO.

  5. Niel, I'm afraid I can't agree about the Shield, I'm really not a fan. They sit terribly on the shelves, the label is so wide you never know which way to face them. I'd agree with what Kirsty said on twitter yesterday though - "On balance I prefer the new one but I think it's lost too much of it's heritage." She also talked about it looking a bit to 'new' and that "a lot of the beauty is in it's history which is missing"