ALE May 1999 No. 294

Brewery News

Scottish & Newcastle's T&J Bernard chain (e.g. The Fountain, Cambridge) is spending 54M on 50 new pubs, all adaptations of buildings the group already owns, and creating 1,450 jobs.
[Source: Ceefax 262/99]

Greene King's head brewer Alistair Heeley has retired after 22 years, his final major projects being the Strong Suffolk cask variant and Triumph Ale. He now has a one-barrel-per-month microbrewery. The new head brewer is Iain Masson whose first task was to supervise the February special brew for St Valentine's Day - Old Horny (4.2%). It's special ingredient was ginseng.

Woodforde (Woodbastwick, Norfolk) Norkie (5%) was the Champion Beer of the 16th Rugby Beer Festival. They've also had export success with their Norfolk Nog (4.6%) - it's being sold in New York bars.
[Source: Teletext 4/4/99]

Congratulations to the City of Cambridge Brewery: Hobson's Choice won third place at the annual hop industry awards in the "single varietal, higher alpha" category. The brewery's new Real Ale was launched at the recent membership promotion evening in Royston - it's brewed without hops.

Seasonals and Specials

The Bury St Edmunds Beer Festival in early April featured two noteworthy beers from Old Chimneys (near Diss): NightingAle (4.5%) celebrates the arrival of nightingales and will remain on sale until their September migration. It's a mid-amber bitter, dry-hopped with English Goldings hops. Dotted Fan-Foot (8%) celebrated the discovery of a rare moth in the nearby fen and was a rich, dark beer.

Nethergate (Clare, Suffolk) Swift spring beer (4.1%) is a tasty, hoppy session beer, made with different hops from their usual.

Potton (Potton, Beds.) Bunny Hops (4.2%) is a very tasty, smooth dark beer, in between a mild and a stout. Potton and City of Cambridge now distribute for each other.

Charles Wells Discovery Golden Ale (4.5%) is another delicious seasonal beer.

Ringwood 21 Not Out (4.4%) celebrates their 21st anniversary - look out for it on guest beer pumps in May.

Gone For A Burton

The corporate battle between Wolverhampton & Dudley and Marston, Thompson & Evershed has ended. It may have cost each of them as much as 40M. W&D were the victors for 285M and for now seem content to maintain the Marston Burton-Upon-Trent brewery with its unique Burton Union cask system. They're planning to sell of some pubs, leaving them with 1500, and they plan to enforce lined glasses (i.e. full pint measures) in their managed houses. The vision of a future for traditional pubs and tenancies has won out for now but this is likely to be the start of a shake-out amongst the regional brewers, reducing choice overall. [The story continues in Industry Watch in ALE 296.]

What's In A Name?

Whitbread is using big-company tactics to get a pub owner to change his pub's name. Gordon Thompson of The Hogshead in Hull has been told that the company owns the rights to the name "Hogshead" and he must change: one of their Hogsheads opened close by about three months after he opened. Problems like this with names seem to be increasing. City of Cambridge has renamed its True Blue to Boathouse Bitter as another brewery complained about a clash over "Blue". The Cottage Brewery's Old Speckled Ken beer was challenged by Morland and the latter persuaded Cottage to change the name.

ALE May 1999 No. 294 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA