Monday, February 25, 2013

Beer is the news

Full Malted Jacket
Full Malted Jacket. It's heavy, man. 
Proving that news flows faster downhill than up, The Guardian finally got round to reporting on BrewDog's continuing global domination ... about a month since Everybody and their Mum first reported James Watt and Matin Dickie's plans to bring their BrewDog chain to foreign shores, including Stockholm, Sao Paolo, Brussels and Tokyo.

To be fair to The Guardian, this story was only the hook on which to peg a larger piece about the Craft Beer Rising event in London (which attracted 1000 beer-buyers and 2000 hip London beer-drinkers and judging by the Twitter chatter was AWESOME!!! and A1!!!) and also threw in some pretty interesting beer business facts, such as:

  • Sales of real ale have been boosted, rising for the first time in 20 years in 2011, with 1.6% more drunk than the year before. Last year sales are thought to have levelled out but real ale continues to outperform the wider beer market which has been hit by the economic downturn.
  • Pubs may be closing at the rate of 18 a week but there are more than 1,000 microbreweries in Britain, according to Camra, with more than 160 opening last year.
  • A new breed of pub catering for trendy young beer fans is springing up, such as the Craft Beer Company, which now has four bars, and the Euston Tap in London.
  • Canada-based brewing giant Molson Coors UK has said that the craft beer market grew 13% year-on-year in the UK in 2012, and doubled in Ireland.
  • Europe is following a trend in the US where craft beer sales nearly doubled between 2007 and 2012 to $12bn, according to market research firm Mintel. Over there the beers are most popular with 25 to 34-year olds, raising hopes that the trend will foster a younger generation of pint fans.

Then there was the piece about Lothian brewer Knops Beer Company's expansion plans. Interesting to note that Robert Knops's beer is brewed at Traditional Scottish Ales in Stirling, along with a number of other microbrewers, including Fallen. Knops's expansion will allow him to brew his own beer on his own site under his own watchful eye, giving him full control over the whole process. It also means he doesn't have to hand over any of his precious recipes to strangers.

Lastly, American bevvy merchants Beachwood BBQ have launched their Full Malted Jacket ale.  Hundred-yard death stare aside, they badge this up as a Scottish-style "wee heavy". It's a mere 9.7%, which, by the way, is the amount of Scottish DNA in the US population. I kid you not. Available in Southern California, if you're ever passing...

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