Author, Broadcaster, Consultant, Beer Lover
Pete Brown is a British author, journalist, broadcaster and consultant specialising in food and drink, especially the fun parts like beer, pubs, cider, bacon rolls and fish and chips. Across nine books, his broad, fresh approach takes in social history, cultural commentary, travel writing, personal discovery and natural history, and his words are always delivered with the warmth and wit you’d expect from a great night down the pub. He writes for newspapers and magazines around the world and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme. He was named British Beer Writer of the Year in 2009, 2012 and 2016, has won three Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards, and has been shortlisted twice for the Andre Simon Awards. Pete is Chair of the British Guild of Beer Writers. He lives in London with his wife Liz, and dog Mildred.
A bit more background
Pete Brown was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and much against his better judgment, still supports its football team.
After graduating from the University of St Andrews, Pete spent ten years in advertising, helping some of the world’s biggest brands with their marketing strategy. Most famously, he persuaded Heineken to ditch its ‘Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach’ slogan just weeks before it was named the most successful advertising slogan of all time. He also worked on Stella Artois’ ‘Reassuringly Expensive campaign’, for which he wrote several award-winning papers proving its commercial effectiveness.
After looking for a book that explained the British love for beer but not being able to find it, Pete wrote Man Walks Into A Pub: A Sociable History of Beer (2003, revised 2010). It sold so well that it was almost turned into a BBC TV series, but was pipped at the final commissioning meeting by a series about mountains. Mountains.
Its follow up, Three Sheets to the Wind (2006) and then Hops & Glory (2009, ) Shakespeare’s Local (2012), The Pub: A Cultural Institution (2016) and Miracle Brew (2017) have all been critically well received, as well as appearing across the national media. Shakespeare’s Local was BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week at launch in December 2012, and Miracle Brew was shortlisted for the Andre Simon Best Drinks Book Award in 2017.
Pete’s blog was one of the first beer blogs in the UK back in 2006, and this, together with being editor-at-large for Original Gravity magazine, regular columns in the Morning Advertiser and Class magazine, frequent contributions to national new media and beer magazines such as Ferment and Hopticle give him a platform to talk about all aspects of the drinks and pubs business. He was elected Chair to the British Guild of Beer Writers in July 2018.
After being asked repeatedly to offer views on cider, which is a completely different drink from beer, Pete teamed up with photographer and cider evangelist Bill Bradshaw to learn about the world’s most misunderstood drink and write the Guide to Welsh Cider and Perry (2013) and World’s Best Cider (2013). He followed this up in 2016 with The Apple Orchard – a journey through the magic and history of the English apple, which was BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week in November 2016 and was shortlisted for several awards.
He is a consultant and marketing strategist to brewers and their agencies, where his knowledge of the beer and the wider drinks industry as well as his advertising experience offers a unique overview of some of the challenges they face.
Somewhat inevitably, Pete is often called upon at corporate events, where his after-dinner speeches and keynote conference presentations almost always involve a Man Walks Into A Pub joke.
Pete is now one of the most recognised beer writers in the UK, is broadening his scope to cover food and drink more broadly, and is delighted that his books have been translated into over two languages.
In Britain, we have always had an awkward relationship with food. We’ve been told for so long that we are terrible cooks and yet when someone with a clipboard asks us what the best things are about being British, our traditional food and drink are more important than the monarchy and at least as significant as our landscape and national monuments in defining a collective notion of who we are.
“A much-needed book… makes an important point without false pride or sentimentality… should open a few eyes, particularly among those who make a living writing about munching.”
From the birth of brewing (and civilization) in the Middle East, through an exploration of water’s unmurky depths and the surreal madness of drink-sodden hop-blessings in the Czech Republic, to the stunning recreation of the first ever modern beer – Miracle Brew is an extraordinary journey through the nature and science of brewing.
“Staggering… screamingly funny … a magisterial book that will remain a key contributor to our knowledge of and pleasure in beer and brewing for years to come.” Roger Protz.
‘The vivid brightness of the laden trees, studded with jewels, stirs some deep race memory and makes the heart leap. Here is bounty, and excitement’.
Journeying through the seasons in England’s apple-growing heartlands, Pete Brown uncovers the history, magic and folklore of our most familiar fruit, showing its unique and surprisingly important place in our lives.
“Delightful… impassioned, patriotic, richly informed.”