| Uncategorised

I’d like to thank my mom, Jesus, Barry the Barrel, Brew Dog, the Portman Group…

Last night I was named Beer Writer of the Year at the British Guild of Beer Writers Awards. Hops and Glory was awarded the Budweiser Budvar John White Travel Bursary, and this – with a nod to my writing in other fields – put me through for the top gong.

The fact that, for the first year, the award was renamed in honour of Michael Jackson, makes winning it doubly special to me.

I started writing about beer about six or seven years ago. I rant a lot, get frustrated, bore people sometimes. Well quite a lot, actually. I sometimes ask myself why I stepped off an executive career ladder – a ladder I was climbing reasonably quickly – to do this. I earn a fraction of what I used to, and an even tinier fraction of what I’d now be earning if I’d stayed on that ladder. But you might also ask why – when we read about binge drinking media shite, closing pubs, neo-prohibitionism, industry in-fighting, political wankery and all that – why so many people are picking up a pen or sitting down at a keyboard and deciding they want to write about beer – often in return for no money at all.

I fucking love beer. I love the taste and appreciation of it. I love the society and culture that surrounds it, and the way it influences society and culture more broadly. I love the history of it, and what that history tells us about ourselves. I love the way it’s an international standard, a universal signifier of unpretentious sociability. I love the fact that I’ve made scores of genuine new friends through it – many of whom I’ve yet to meet physically. I love the way it inspires and intoxicates me – both in a physiological sense and an intellectual one.

I never, ever regret giving up a career in advertising – which, if you do it well, makes people a little less happy with what they currently have as part of making them want something shinier and newer – for a career in beer – which, in the vast, vast majority of lives it touches, makes those lives warmer, richer and smilier.

The rule last night was that nobody wins more than one category, so once Hops and Glory won, I was out of the running for stuff like blogging and trade press. Maybe if things were different I’d have picked up an award for this blog, and maybe I wouldn’t. It’s irrelevant. What did happen is that Woolpack Dave was runner up in the online category, and Young Dredge won it for Pencil and Spoon. I’m absolutely delighted for both of them. Mark Dredge emailed me out of the blue about eighteen months ago and said he wanted to be a writer and did I have any advice. I gave him some advice and he took it. And then he attacked his task with astonishing energy and dedication, and grew as a writer incredibly quickly, and did some new things no one has done before, and made electronic media his own. Mark and Woolpack Dave started blogging on the same day as each other, a little over a year ago. Now they’re recognised asthe leaders in their field. The world of beer writing can never again be complacent or self-satisfied – something it was accused of regularly when I was new to the game. (Every now and again I still think of myself as a newcomer to this. But increasingly, six years feels like several lifetimes in beer writing years).

It’s a privilege to be able to write about what I fucking love and have people read it – whether that’s in a book, a magazine or newspaper or on a blog. I love the interplay of different media and the way I have to change my writing style between them. Blogging makes me a better book writer, which makes me a better journalist, which makes me a better blogger – or maybe it’s the other way round or back to front.

Today I’m going to write my final column of the year for the Publican and then I’m going to a beer festival and/or a bar and I’m going to exceed the recommended daily guidelines of alcohol unit intake. I’m going to get drunk. I’m going to get shitfaced, sozzled, pissed, bladdered, cunted, wankered, soused, and most of the other 1346 words for inebriation I’ve collected over the years. I’m going to have a good time doing it, and the people who are with me are going to have a good time too – a better time than they would if they stayed in and watched the telly. And when I come home with The Beer Widow and a few mates, I’m going to share with them a bottle of Bass Kings Ale, brewed in 1902, which cost me over a hundred quid, and I’m going to marvel at the miracle of beer all over again.

And then on Monday, I’m probably going to weigh in about Portman banning Tokyo* and how they haven’t really, or moan about the fact that because I’ve bought books on beer from them in the past, Amazon just emailed me telling me I might be interested in a book called ‘Reducing Harmful Drinking’, and off we’ll go again.

Have a bibulous weekend.

Cheers

30 Comments

30 Comments

Graeme

Well done Pete. Only found this blog a few months ago and am working my way through Hops and Glory. Thanks for entertaining me.

Reply
Beer Diva

Hey Pete, congratulations on your award!! Love the blog and your sentiment which I agree with whole-heartedly. Have a great night getting sozzled, maybe when I'm next in England we can get sozzled together whilst appreciating all there is to the mighty fine… beer. Cheers.

Reply
Anonymous

Congratulations Pete!

That's fantastic – Hops and Glory is a great book, and I enjoy reading the blog almost daily.

You deserve it mate, and have a good celebration!

Reply
Darren T

Huge congrats, Pete! I absolutely loved Hops and Glory – one of my Books of the Year, definitely. Very glad indeed you won the award as a result.

Reply
Des de Moor

Round of applause for the column, and a repeat in writing of my verbal congratulations last night — well done, Pete, and well deserved. Enjoy yourself celebrating today — I'd join you, but I've had a bit of a beery week of it and in the interests of responsible drinking I need a quiet night in!

Reply
Woolpack Dave

What can I say, as soon as I read Hops and Glory I knew it was yours. You needed to do nothing else in my view.

With the exception perhaps of Michael Jackson.

Nobody has gone so far, risked so much, worked so hard, or humbled so many and remained humble still, all in the name of beer.

In my opinion.

Reply
Reading Tom

Pete

Congratulations on a well-deserved honour, I've greatly enjoyed all your books and your interesting and opinionated blog and, more to the point, you'll be pleased to know that "Hops and Glory" will be under several Christmas trees this year !

Reply
mentaldental

Well done! And thanks. On the strength of your success I have had to pour myself another pint of porter to toast your success. Looks like I'm binging again 🙂

Reply
Bionic Laura

Well done Pete. Your blog is great. Hops and Glory was the best holiday read I've had in many years. It was lovely to meet you and your good lady beer widow at the GBBF. You're a great beer writer and the award is well deserved.

Reply
Rudgie73

Well done feller – great to see you get the recognition. Fantastic book as I have said many times before. I just hope your beery night out post awards doesn't lead to any other beer journey thoughts – Arctic Ale? only a suggestion 😉

Reply
Pete

Thanks everyone for your comments and best wishes. It really means a lot. I think it finally sunk in last night after six hours at the Pigs Ear Festival. There's a warm glow on everything this morning.

Reply
Tommy N

Well Done and well deserved. Enjoying Hops and Glory and saw you talk at lattitude. Looking foward to reading your next beery adventure.

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *