| Uncategorised

China, crap ads, good pubs and Depeche Mode – my recent trade press rants

I’m very chuffed to have secured two regular trade press columns this year: a fortnightly one in the newly merged Publican’s Morning Advertiser, now the only magazine for the UK pub trade, and a monthly one for www.Just-Drinks.com , the website for the global drinks industry.

Both these columns appear online and each time they do, I put a link to them on Twitter.  But not everyone reads Twitter, so here’s a brief summary of what I’ve been writing about recently, which you can read if you like.  They’re quite industry focused, but then, you might be too.  You don’t have to read them if you’re not.  You don’t have to read them at all.

[Update: It seems Just Drinks might require a subscription to read.  PMA definitely doesn’t].

I kicked off in Just Drinks by talking about what’s gone wrong with beer advertising, and why brewers want to make bogus claims for their products.

Next month, I wrote about the beer scene in China, and how Western brewers need to be careful setting up shop there.

After that, prompted by a Carlsberg relaunch, I wrote about why beer is different from other products if you’re trying to build global brands.

And last month, I railed against the dodgy practice by some brewers (well, one in particular) whereby if you’re an employee of the company, drinking someone else’s beer – even if you’re off the clock and on your own time – can be “a career-ending move”.

My latest rant – familiar to any long-term readers of this blog – will be about the factual fallacies of the neo-prohibitionists, and how the drinks industry is failing to combat them.  It should be up any day now.

Over at the PMA, concerns are a bit more UK-focused, and there’s room to occasionally be a touch more irreverent.  Not all my columns are available online but they’ve started putting them up over the last couple of months.  In the first one that’s up there, written just before the first UK beer bloggers conference, I tried to explain to the British pub industry why they need social media.

Following that, I wrote about the basic quality of pubs, and what hardcore beer drinkers really mean when they describe a pub as ‘the kind of place you could bring the wife’.

Next, I had a go at PubCo M&B for their ludicrous decision to boot out the tenants of the wildly successful Engineer in Primrose Hill, and also used it to say something about the way many of us approach issues in beer and pubs.

And then, I wrote a piece I really hope no one takes seriously – you never know – about the glory that is Tallinn’s Depeche Mode bar.

Finally, the PMA also asked me to compile my 50 favourite UK beers – that was the brief, so I was unable to include foreign beers.  I attempted to go as wide as possible, and include selections that would upset – sorry, delight – as many people as possible.

Hope there’s something you enjoy. If there’s anything, global or local, you think I should be covering in these columns, please drop me a line.




What is the new Kronenbourg ad all about? Suggs singing a slow version of Baggy Trousers in a stylised version of French Bar. Drink it slowly and savour it is the message Ah, premium lager you think. Suggs though, where does he fit into it?


No doubt the 50 best beers will eventually get its own post, but I was surprised to see not a single beer in the broad style of "mild" included in it. Batemans DM, perhaps, or Banks's Mild would wind up the tall poppy haters.

Cooking Lager

The absence of Foster's ensure the "50 best beers" has little by way of credibility. I mean. good god, no Carling, no Stella, no Carlsberg. What is this rubbish?


Very pleased to see Acorn Barnsley Bitter listed. I've been telling people for years that it's the best quaffing bitter around.
Guinness eh? Wouldn't Special/Foreign Export be a better choice?
Finally, do try Brimstage Scarecrow Bitter at GBBF before it sells out. It knocks spots off Landlord.

Rob Nicholson

The more you can do to upset Roger Protz, the dinonsaur in CAMRA, the better in my books (hah)! I've been critical of the GBG at times and one would think I'd just called the Queen a rude name…

Saga Of Nails

Well I am out of touch. I had no idea the two trade mags were so hard up that they had to merge. It does make sense when you think about it, but I was a little surprised to read about it.
To be ruthlessly frank I thought that they were both as bland as each other and offered me personally very little. So when the tele-reps phoned to ask if I wanted to actually pay for them in the future the decision was not a difficult one to make.
Good luck with the columns. I won't comment on the fifty beer list as I wouldn't want to appear negative. Your taste buds are somehow equally as valid as mine. 🙂


Thanks Pete. Massively interested in the China article particularly. I was wondering if you had any comments, however, on the "right" way to set up shop over there. Aside from respecting local ideas, do you have some guidelines as to what the local approach to brewing and marketing beer consists of? And do you have any thoughts on the degree to which the difficulties are due to a. cultural misunderstanding, and b. intentional obstinacy from an inherently protectionist market?

Nice to read new stuff from new places, even if I lack the subscription needed for some of the pieces. Cheers.


One more point. Something that wasn't raised in your social media post was the downside of the social congruence between twitter (et al) and pubs: namely, that the social need once nourished down the boozer is increasingly provided by online interaction. I won't pretend it is a substitute for true physical companionship, but sitting at home with some quality (and cheaper) beers, typing to your mates and other friends you might never have had if it weren't for the internet, can be very socially satisfying and stimulating. Do you see social media as a potential erosion of some dimensions of pub culture, or is it a net gain in relation to the points you raise?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *