Tag Archives: bbpa
Beer industry conferences are wondrous events. No, seriously, they are. I can say that now because I went to the biggest one in Britain the other week: the Society of Independent Brewers (which represents a truckload of British microbreweries) held Beer X in Sheffield. I shuffled myself along to the ‘Industry Day’. And boy, was I verbally assaulted by various fabulous members of the industry that day: Nigel Sadler kept promising to take me down to the cellar…to show me the mammoth beer festival operation that was taking place over the four days, of course. Sara Carter, Brewster at Triple FFF brewery revealed the secrets of her newest beer. Global mega-star, Brooklyn Brewery Master Brewer, Garrett Oliver held me and 200 others captive, and plied us with free (dammit, yes, I said FREE!) Sorachi Ace. And celebrity chef, Simon Rimmer (he of Sunday Brunch on Channel 4 every Sunday morning) regaled us with a tale of how he’s just launched his own range of beers designed to complement certain foods. (Check out my video which captured the moment both Garrett and Simon vied for the top spot in the Brightest, Shiniest Teeth comp – proceed with caution)
It’s my latest instalment of #LoveBeer! WOO!!
Like it or not, he appeared. As if by magic. Like the shop-keeper. I was minding my own business, chewing the fat with my beer pal, Kimberley , in a tight corner of a compact & bijoux downstairs room of The Westminster Arms near Parliament the other night. We’d not long arrived. We were being regaled with tales of Westminster life, by two rather lively MPs at a drinks party held by the British Beer and Pub Association. We, and around 50 others, were there to rejoice in the news that the beer duty escalator had been scrapped and there’d been a penny reduction on a pint. Then The Architect of the mirth in which we were indulging appeared. Kimberley poked me in the ribs. I turned around and almost splurted out my mouthful of beer, as I did a double-take. Classy.com. The strident figure in the dark suit was holding a pint of Shepheard Neame’s Spitfire Ale. Camera flashes ignited the room. It was a moment in history: the first ever snaps of The Chancellor, George Osborne actually holding a pint of beer.
‘Thanks, George! You’re a star!’ I secretly hoped I could say those words one day, and I’d rarely dared to dream. But now, I can let my feelings flow. Because I’m a woman who drinks beer, and The Chancellor has pleased me much! For most mainstream media, and non-beer drinkers, women like me are a bit odd. Female beer drinkers are pretty much dumped into the same category as that elderly lady you see on the news. You know the one? The one her concerned neighbour’s anonymously called the RSPCA about. The pensioner peeps her head forlornly around the small gap in her front door. Squinting at the animal officer in his smart peaked cap, she croaks ‘Good Morning’, as he spies what looks like dried soup on her cardigan collar. Mushroom or French Onion? Smack. A waft of ammonia darts out from inside the house and shoots up his nose, and as the lady steps back to let him inside the door reveals a hallway crammed chock full. Full of purring, playful cats of all shapes, sizes and colours wandering around her itty-bitty house, all dying to get out and greet their new beau. Who’s hopefully brought dinner.
I’ve just sat and live tweeted the headlines coming out of the live House of Commons debate over the beer duty escalator. After 104,000 of us who love beer signed an e-petition to get it to this point today, the case was put forward to a Minister from the Treasury as to why the beer duty escalator – the annual increase in taxes on beer – should be abolished. All to save the price of a pint going up, to stop more pubs closing and stop more jobs being lost.
The price of a pint of beer in the pubs is going though the roof – £1 goes to the government (50p in duty and 50p in VAT). In the 2hr 47mins debate that started at 1130, around 20 MPs delivered speeches and there were numerous interventions from countless other MPs who care about the beer and pub industry.