davegodfrey: Marvin: ...and me with a terrible pain in all the diodes down my left hand side... (Marvin)
I've written about Brewdog before- they make rather nice beers, many of which are ridiculously strong, and don't particularly appeal to me for that reason- but they're a good example of the kind of craft brewery that's been thriving, and have very definitely got their marketing strategy right. Grab headlines with limited edition runs of "the world's strongest beer" (well, its really a freeze-distilled spirit, but who's counting), and back this up with a range of rather more sensible quality beers. Good for them. They've recently opened a bar down in Camden, and very nice it is too- it sells pretty much the whole of their range, and I ought to visit again.

As a relatively small concern with a handful of pubs you wouldn't think that the big pubco's would be that scared of them would you? After all, Diageo make Guinness which sells something like 1.5 billion pints a year worldwide. Brewdog's total output is about six hundred times less. They own seven pubs. Diageo own, well probably none actually, I don't think they have a subsidiary pubco, although I'm sure they used to- but then again they don't need to- their products are available in almost every bar in the UK. Talisker, Gordon's, Pimm's, Jose Cuervo, they have their fingers in a lot of pies.

So do they really have anything to fear from Brewdog? Really?

Seems like they do. At the British Institute of Innkeeping Scotland Awards, Brewdog had heard through the grapevine, that they might do rather well in a particular category.- Bar Operator of the Year- voted for by an independent panel. Sadly they didn't win. Oh well, these things happen, better luck next time and all that..

However, the winners refused to accept the award. Because someone had already engraved "Brewdog" on it.

Um...

Turns out that some Diageo reps strongarmed the BII into changing the winner at the last minute, stating that they'd refuse to sponsor the awards ever again if Brewdog won.

You may as well go here and read Brewdog's account of the evening, and the aftermath. I don't have much more to add other than "Jesus Christ!"

I'm not sure what explanation there is for Diageo's admitted "serious misjudgement". I don't know what was being served at the dinner, but not even Brewdog advise drinking a bottle of Tactical Nuclear Penguin in one go.

davegodfrey: South Park Me. (Default)
Next week is the Great British Beer Festival. I therefore propose an afternoon and evening of BEER, CIDER, PERRY, and if we're lucky MEAD!

I'm meeting people on Wednesday. Hopefully I'll see some of you there.
davegodfrey: South Park Me. (Default)
This time round they've created a 32% beer. Yes you read that right. 32%. There's no yeast that will let you brew that strong, so they freeze it, decant it and refreeze it until it gets to the desired percentage. Its conditioned in two different types of cask, and the manufacturers themselves suggest it should be drunk like whisky. Its basically the beer version of the Apple brandy that farmers Didn't Make At All for their friends and family.

Being Brewdog it has a very silly name "Tactical Nuclear Penguin". And to forestall claims of ruining the world with binge drinking a 330ml bottle will cost £30. 500 are being made. I've said before that they're attention seeking, and I think this proves it, but I think I'm warming to the cheeky buggers.

Jack Law from Alcohol Focus Scotland is not amused "We want to know why a brewer would produce a beer almost as strong as whisky." For exactly the same reason as I covered my computer in sticky-backed plastic, that people first began to make brandy, and that people climb mountains. To see if they could. As whisky starts off not unlike beer why not try making a spirit from actual beer?

Beer!

Sep. 28th, 2009 07:47 pm
davegodfrey: South Park Me. (Default)
You may have heard of "Brew Dog". They've run into problems with the Portman Group, several times (they had a beer called "Speedball", and described "Punk IPA" as "anti-social".) Their website gives you the idea of the kind of company they are. They like to market themselves as being a bit edgy, and then say something that makes you think they're just idiots.

They're a Scottish brewery who were recently condemned for making Tokyo*, at 18.2% one of the strongest beers around. Made with champagne yeast to get the percentage that high it is sold in 330ml bottles, and each of those contains 6 units of alcohol. This is I admit rather a lot for one bottle. They've hit back by making "Nanny State" a 1.1% beer. Alcohol Focus Scotland are not amused that Brew Dog are taking the piss somewhat. When Tokyo* came out they said-

"It is utterly irresponsible to bring out a beer which is so strong at a time when Scotland is facing unprecedented levels of alcohol-related health and social harm.

"Just one bottle of this beer contains six units of alcohol - twice the recommended daily limit."

Brew Dog were marketing this as being a "cure for binge drinking" which does sound stupid, but as they say, any publicity is good publicity.

However this beer costs £9.99 per 330ml bottle. And was produced in a run of 3000. There are much cheaper ways of getting drunk. Vodka for instance. Good vodka even. This beer is about £20 a pint, which is about my budget for a night out, including club entry. Not a beer that lends itself to the "lets get as drunk as we can as quickly and cheaply as possible" market. AFS really are barking up the wrong tree with this one. This is not a beer that will be drunk in quantity, it'll be shared around a group of people in a "look what I've found" session, along with random fruity things from Belgium. Brew Dog are not trying to muscle in on the Special Brew Market. Really they're not. Its a gimmick to get the name out there and people interested in the other beers they make.

Now I don't know much about the binge drinking culture- although if three pints is a binge I "binge" nearly every time I go out for a drink with my friends, and I'm sure most of you do too, so maybe I do know more than I thought? Anyway I digress. This is an expensive, limited edition luxury product. It is not something you would drink in quantity. Hell beer above 8% is not something you can drink in quantity. For one thing the taste and strength is usually somewhat overpowering. Until it ceased production in 1999 Thomas Hardy's Ale was the strongest I knew of at 12%, and I'm sure there were others. Most were marketed as nightcaps, or beers to lay down for a special occasion.

Jeffo's Beer Blog
has some interesting things to say on the whole saga- and on their other beers, of which he seems to be a fan, but he does point out that the "strongest beer possible" market is not a large one, and the whole thing is something of a gimmick. He doesn't have much sympathy for the "Beer Geek" style beers, preferring beers you can actually drink more than one of in an evening. This is a view with which I am in general agreement. As for Tokyo* I am not likely to try it, I suspect they've sold out by now. And I'm not spending £10 on less than half a pint- even if its guaranteed to get me blotto just by sniffing it.

I have however tried a couple of their other beers, I didn't particularly like Dogma (7.8%), a heather honey infused ale, that also contains gaurana, kola nut and poppy seeds. I suspect the guarana and kola, coupled withthe strength is why I didn't like it, as I'm rather fond of honey ales, and Fraoch is lovely. (Note to self. Hunt down some mead for the winter). Punk IPA (6%) was nicer, but I prefer its weaker brethren. Sainsbury's still have some left, and it may reward a second visit. I would like to try Paradox (an ale conditioned in whisky casks, like the delectable Innis and Gunn), though at 10% I'm a bit leery of it. If I see it I will try "Trashy Blonde" which sounds much more interesting- its 4.1% so I'd actually want to drink more than one in an evening. I like these guys attempt to be as far from the conventional image of brewing as they can be, but in the end I can't help but agree with Jeffo when he says that "There's little point in pandering to the beer geek market: it's far too small and fickle". I don't drink 8%-9% beers regularly, and I don't know anyone else who does either.

davegodfrey: Cyberman: The Future is Shiny (Shiny)

Next Wednesday is my actual birthday. However there isn't much to do on Wednesday, so my offical birthday will be on the Friday. There will therefore be pubbing and clubbing and carousing until the second cock.

Unless anyone objects I'm going to suggest meeting at The Crown on New Oxford Street. Its a Sam Smith's pub and they have a Beer Garden. Suggested time 7-8ish. Then clubbing at the Ballroom for the Sin City goodness.

Bee there or be a rectangular thynge. (Or on the wrong continent.)

Edit: "The Crown" is next to the umberella shop at the TCR end of New Oxford St

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