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Sleeping with the enemy

Amid cries of “sell out!” (mostly inside my own head), today sees a long reportage piece by me in the Mail on Sunday’s Live! magazine, about the perils of marketing premium lager. It’s pretty critical of Stella. (Perhaps it would have been less critical had the brewer agreed to talk to me and accepted the opportunity to put their side across.)
I’ve justified writing for the Mail to myself in many ways – Live! is the mag for blokes to read in what is a very female-oriented newspaper and doesn’t share the main paper’s reactionary political agenda. They pay about ten times more than most publications I write for. But the excuse I’m sticking to is this: deep inside a paper I’m usually slagging off for its rabid disapproval of drink and drinkers, I’ve succeeded in making them print the words:

“Despite reports that Britain is drinking itself to death, in reality alcohol sales in the round are falling faster than at any time since the Forties.”

As far as I can tell this is the first time those words have been printed inside a British newspaper (well, in that particular order, anyway). And it’s in the Mail – the worst culprit for disinformation about binge drinking.



Adrian Tierney-Jones

what’s the problem? You’re a professional writer, you get paid, you express an opinion and move on (I mean I’ve seen Roger P in there as well) — and yes it’s a good piece and they do pay well (the pay gap between the newspapers and the ‘beer press’ is appalling, but that’s what happens when you do something for love). It’s not as if you were writing for Disembowel All Cats Weekly or Genocide Monthly.


I thought it was a good piece and remarkably in-depth, but what made you start repeating the nonsense about beer being cheaper than water?


Very good piece – it's a rare treat to see some sensible writing about beer in the mainstream press. Stella really has pissed away its brand equity in a spectacular way. I continue to believe that the strength reduction from 5.2% to 5.0% was a major mistake as it took away a USP.

But I have to agree with Barm that you really shouldn't go on about beer being cheaper than water – that is about as accurate as saying pushbikes are dearer than new cars.

Professor Pie-Tin

Don't worry my friend.
Journalism is very nearly as old as whoring as an honourable profession.
And everyone has their price eventually.


What they say about alcohol isn't really why I have a problem with the Daily Mail, it's more the fact they're bunch of horrible right wing scumbags that I object to!

I don't suppose writing about beer for one of their supplements is really aligning yourself with their more unsavoury aspects though.


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