Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, Scottish and Newcastle's boss Jeremy Blood (who has been with them since 1988) said about the takeover by Heineken " S&N had become a deeply unpopular company among mainstream beer drinkers. In a sense Heineken has changed all that. There is some truth to say that British plcs chasing the next six months' results are forced into taking shorter-term decisions. We lost some of our reverence for beer, we cut corners. It (the takeover] has reinvigorated our passion for beer. We used to call them manufacturing sites. Now we call them breweries or cider mills. It's a small change, but it is significant."
Don't worry though, Heineken have sorted it all out already. Interestingly, "premiumisation" is the answer. In other words we are drinking less, so charge more for it. Oh and serve it in smaller measures. Blood also wants to move away from beer being sold like beans in supermarkets by "decommoditising" it over the next ten years. He also thinks lager might be better served in different draught sizes and smaller, more elaborate glasses with a large head, as our tendency to drink pints does not allow for much difference in price between lower and higher end products. It would have been good if he'd mentioned such things as quality, individuality and taste, but I suppose that would be too much to ask.
While it is nice that S&N are thinking like brewers again, it is a pity they didn't think more like brewers when they actually were .
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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