Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Well, what’s wrong with being sexy?

So now you know.

Our motion about sexism in the beer industry for the CAMRA AGM – many thanks again to all the people who commented and helped develop it – was rejected by the conference procedures committee on the grounds, basically, that everything we were proposing was already CAMRA policy and/or the law of the land.

It’s good that our main points are uncontentious, but as the point of bringing a motion to the AGM was to raise the profile of the issue, I am a bit disappointed that it will not be on the order paper there.

I have appealed the decision, but do not expect anything to come of it.

It would have been nice if CAMRA had taken the opportunity to have headlines reading “CAMRA raises call for fight against beer sexism” rather than “CAMRA issues sexist leaflet”.

But what do I know? I wasn’t the marketing genius who came up with this:



“If you don’t like it, submit a motion to conference,” is what gripers are always told. Well, it’s not as simple as that and perhaps we were naïve. You also need people who know CAMRA’s decision-making set-up and procedures inside out, just as you wouldn’t represent yourself in court or try to get legislation passed without professional advice.

However, next year’s motion is already written and much more concise, so I hope for more success. Here is the full text:

“Conference instructs the National Executive to read the existing equality policy.”

Monday, 6 April 2015

Every Scottish brewery now officially “craft”

There was a bit of a kerfuffle in the United States a couple of weeks ago, due to the news that “craft” breweries, as defined by the Brewers Association, have achieved a share of 11% of the American beer market, reaching double digits for the first time.

Good for the brewers involved, but I’m afraid they have a bit of catching up to do. For another bit of news last week reveals that Scotland has achieved an amazing 100% market share, with every one of the nation’s brewers now making “craft beer”.

The Craft Beer Clan is a marketing effort aimed at boosting sales of its members’ beer, focusing at first on emerging markets in the Far East, but also with point-of-sale promotions run in UK convenience stores supplied by one of its principal backers, wholesaler J W Filshill. The alliance is run by a group of mostly ex-Diageo consultants, with the best-known face being Chris Miller, formerly of Caledonian and Harviestoun. We learn:

The Craft Beer Clan of Scotland have gathered humbly with a simple quest: to enjoy and share the finest Scottish craft beer with the world.
Our mission is to team up with Scottish brewers and partners, who wish to join us in our quest to introduce the great flavours of Scottish craft beer with new drinkers around the world. Drinkers who value quality over quantity, who seek out new and interesting flavours, and are never satisfied with the ordinary.

The breweries signing up to be involved in this – currently 19 are listed on the Clan website – range from tiny Jaw Brew through heavy hitters Inveralmond, Fyne and Williams Bros right up the scale to Heineken-owned Caledonian and lager behemoth Tennent’s.



Even though its core products are in long-term decline, with volumes slowly slipping year after year, Tennent’s still brews more than half the beer drunk in Scottish pubs. If they’re a craft brewer, then so are all the others smaller than them.

I am sure this will wind up many “craft beer” enthusiasts – for most of whom Tennent’s is the devil incarnate – tremendously, which is a very good thing.