Two old stories, made new again, are jumping around the web. The first is our old friends Brew Dog are on the earhole again. Having found only £750,000 out of a hoped for £2.3 million in its first go at Equity for Punks, they have whipped up £500,000 in two days in a new scheme. As the last lot was achieved over 5 months, I can only conclude that either the new offer is much better than the last one, or there are a lot of people out there that are prepared to take a punt for a discount on beer and other incentives. Not that I think this kind of fund raising is necessarily a bad thing. I know of one pub company that wanted to borrow a large sum from the bank to refurbish a new acquisition. The bank either hummed and hawed too much, or refused - I can't remember which - and the PubCo went straight to various associates and friends and raised the dosh overnight. Alternative means of raising money aren't new and aren't bad. The respective arguments for and against in the case of Brew Dog are put by Dave Baileyhere and Allgates Breweryhere. I must say that Allgates make the more persuasive arguments to my mind, but you must make your own up.
The other old story - I say old, because this kind of thing has been tried before I think - is that Carlsberg and Molson Coors are both releasing beers aimed at women. This has set off the old arguments about whether this is patronising or not and whether most women are perfectly happy to like beer or not on their own terms. As a fanatical believer in equality, I tend to believe women are quite capable of making their own minds up and women who don't drink beer are just people who don't drink beer and therefore a blank canvas in terms of what they might or might not like, but either way, there is certainly an untapped market and we should be attracting more women to try different beers. Makes the pub a nicer place for a start. So, in short, I empathise with the aim, but it just seems to me that this is unlikely to be the best way to achieve the outcome. The industry would be far better starting with environment, cleanliness and glassware, than inventing "special" beers for women I'd venture.
So what of the beers? I don't know what they taste like, but there does seem a little stereotyping going on here. That's hard to avoid when you do this kind of thing frankly. Carlsberg say "Many young people aren’t keen on the bitter aftertaste of beer. Here our surveys show that with Copenhagen we have created a highly drinkable beer with a balanced taste — a real alternative to white wine and champagne." Hmm. Forget the champers, get the Carlsberg out. I don't think so. I'm guessing too that it will be bland. Molson Coors has gone for a mixed approach, but seems only marginally less patronising. Animee, from the French word for motivated, is billed as “bloat-resistant” - less gassy and lighter tasting than most beers. It will be available in 275ml bottles in three varieties; standard, rose and citrus.
Whether patronising, or well meaning, will these initiatives fail? In Molson Coors case, despite good intentions, if the internet reaction is anything to go by, likely I fear . As for Carlsberg? Probably!
"The number of UK women drinking beer in the UK is almost the lowest in the world - we won't change that by just doing what we've always done" Kristy McCready - Molson Coors." I have a lot of sympathy with this statement.
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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