It’s been a busy week.
Complaining about the lack of coverage given to beer and pubs has become such a reflex reaction now for so many of us, I suspect I actually mumble in my sleep about there being not a single regular beer column in any UK national newspaper, Sunday supplement or magazine.
But after years of saying, “It’s got to change,” it just might be starting.
On Sunday I was quoted in a Sunday Mirror piece on Carlsberg’s most expensive beer in the world. It was a tabloid piece so they were looking to knock it, but I did manage to get the journo to include some flavour descriptors of a typical barley wine style beer. As we got to talking I mentioned my India trip, and this coming Sunday the Mirror will be running quite a big story on it – they’re coming to take my photo in about an hour. This, three days after I was on Market Kitchen talking about the same trip.
And yesterday I got a call from the Independent. Today they’re running a very even-handed piece on the new figures from the BBPA on how pubs are closing at the rate of four a day. Of course it’s a bad news story, but again, they quoted me and used some of my stuff as background to giver the case for the pub as a balance for the problems – it’s by no means a doom-mongering piece.
Also yesterday, there was the news that Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey is filming a three-part series to be shown on Channel 4 this summer about his quest for the perfect pint. He’s opening a microbrewery, and is currently talking to ad agencies about launching the beer. “Beer should not just be for men with sparrows in their beard or lager louts. I want to create the everyman’s ale,” said Morrissey. This will be the first series about beer on British TV since Michael Jackson’s Beer Hunter in 1990. While I’m a bit gutted personally because it probably finally kills my own long-running attempt to get Man Walks into a Pub used as the basis for a TV series, it’s a huge step forward for the image of beer.
It’s possible to pick fault with any of these stories individually – the Mirror won’t treat beer as seriously as we might like; maybe you’d choose a better celeb than Neil Morrissey; maybe the Indie could be more positive – but I can’t remember a week when there were so many different, unconnected people wanting to talk about beer and pubs. And in the week when many other media outlets resorted to bare-faced lying in their coverage of the government review of licensing reform, that’s got to be a good thing.