Monday 30 January 2012

UK Brewing Industry Unfriendly? Really?!

Over the weekend I caught up with some reading I've been meaning to do since I ordered, what can only be described as, a plethora of beer books.

I finally got around to flicking through Jeff Evans' Book of Beer Knowledge, which is a fun romp through a load of trivia which will assist me greatly in planning beer quizzes in future! And I also perused excitedly through Stan Hieronymous's Brew Like a Monk and Jeff Sparrow's Wild Brews - both of which definitely got my brewing blood racing!

However, unfortunately, there was also something that made my blood pressure shoot up so high I'm surprised it didn't come spurting out of my ears - and that was Greg Koch and Matt Allyn's The Brewer's Apprentice.

Now, I should clarify here, it's actually not the book itself that's the problem, I like it, I like its content, I like its concept - in fact to get that many world class brewers in one book from Schneider to Lost Abbey, Dogfish Head to Cantillon and Russian River to Fuller's is a truly wondrous thing.

But when I got to the BrewDog page I was so incensed by their comments I actually chucked the book down in disgust.

I don't think I need to go into why BrewDog do what they do, I think we're all familiar with their shock tactic methods by now, but it's one thing to thumb your nose at authority and it's another to tell outright lies.

The comment, photographed right, is simply outrageous, the UK brewing industry closed? Yeah, ok lads...

If the UK brewing industry is so damn unfriendly why is it that Stuart Howe of Sharp's is going up to Sheffield this week to present a cheque for over £6,000 to a hospice after the whole brewery staff gave up their weekend for free to help bottle and package a special charity beer called DW, brewed after Howe heard that fellow brewer and leged Dave Wickett was diagnosed with bone cancer?

If it's so miserable and unsharing, how is it figures like John Keeling of Fuller's or Mark Tranter at Dark Star, amongst many others, are trotting around the country doing brews at small craft places like Marble or Magic Rock? And using their, much larger, PR machines to publicise it? Not to mention the amount of beer writers and bloggers to who are now welcomed through brewery doors to do collaboration brews.

I also know for a fact that brewers all over the country regularly borrow raw ingredients off each other, seek advice on things that have gone wrong or just ring each other up for a natter about their next beer; I could go on but it would seem pointless in a way because I'm pretty sure it will fall on deaf doggy ears.

What I will say is this though: this is utter, utter rubbish and I would implore you not to listen to it.

The UK brewing industry is not only booming and forward-thinking, it is also fabulously friendly and I feel, quite strongly, that BrewDog owes the industry as a whole a bloody enormous apology.


Bier Huis said...

What utter rubbish from Brew Dog. It has amazed me how everyone (well most) seem to get alone with each other.

Ed said...

Sounds like Brewdog reap what they sow.

Gareth said...

Maybe they're just unfriendly to the people who like to slag them off in public?

Been said before and it'll be said again... Great beer, but they're such morons at times.

Kristy said...

Absolute bilge!

The irony being I invited Mr Dickie to sit down and discuss some of their "claims" after EBBC11, am still waiting for a response.

Odd when they're so happy to talk......

Melissa Cole said...

@Gareth the sad thing is I actually like both of them personally but their continuous antics are just beyond the pail, I just can't stand by and see the UK brewing industry denigrated in such a fashion, it's not on

@Kristy really? Interesting!!

@bierhuis you have front line experience as a retailer so thanks for comment

@Ed it is a bit like that really!

Triple fff Brewer said...

I have just bought that book last week coincidentally but haven't got to the Brewdog page yet. The thing that has struck me most since changing career nearly 3 years ago and becoming a brewer is the sharing of information and advice that seems so prevalent throughout the whole industry. I have NEVER seen this before amongst company's who are essentially competitors and I love it. Darkstar came in to our brewery when we went big in 2006 to assist us on brewing on a larger scale and we, in turn, have returned the favour for the likes of Surrey Hills and Windsor & Eton.
Maybe Brewdogs experience has been different but not mine. Sara.

Alistair Reece said...

That is nuts, but even before I opened the link to you post I had a sense it was about BrewDog.

Since I started doing my Brewer of the Week interviews on Fuggled, it is the Brits that have been the most willing to participate, including John Keeling at Fullers.

Perhaps they can't tell the difference between friendly and superficial?

Michelle said...

The friends I've made through brewing are too numerous to count. I've done collaboration brews, I've borrowed casks and malt, I've loaned hops, clips and yeast, I've shared pallets of mini casks with other small brewers and I've brain picked when I was having clarity issues. I couldn't ask for a better business community to be involved in and I'm chuffed to be able to call upon large and small brewers all over the UK if I need to.

beersiveknown said...

Perhaps they contributed their section a few years ago? There really weren't that many collaborations as we have seen in the last couple of years and increasing all the time (A very good thing in my mind :) )

AP said...

It seems strange to analyse one sentence without the context being considered. What's clearly being said here is that the UK is closed, within in the context of experiencing collaboration in the US, which is 'so open'. If any of the above commentators have experience of both - as BrewDog does - and still say the industry in the UK has an equal culture of collaboration as the US, then fair comment. But I don't see that. Criticism of BrewDog is often more sensationalist than the marketing activity it deplores.

Melissa Cole said...

@AP Thanks for your comment but I don't think I've taken that out of context, I thought long and hard before even blogging about it. I judge in the States and love the brewing culture and the people, in fact I regularly say that our competitions and judging over here has a lot to learn from how professional and serious it is out there, but that's a different topic altogether.
To get back to the point, they are indeed very open in the US, but so is the UK and the comment (and associated inference) that our native brewing industry is closed is extremely disingenuous to say the least.
I understand your comment about sensationalism, I do, I edited my post several times over but this isn't the first instance of comments like this aimed at the US market at the expense of the UK brewing industry and it's getting extremely annoying.

James, BrewDog said...

So Melissa, my comments are borne from experience working within the industry, not writing about it. And they are based on things which have actually happened to us.

If the UK Brewing industry is so open and friendly, why did a bunch of SIBA (over 10 UK Brewers) members put together a dossier to a Scottish journalist outlining that we fabricate our sales figures and performance in 2010? (By the way we don't. We are a fully audited plc.) Is this ‘fabulously friendly’? Full story here

Why, when we started back in 2007 and I called the MD of Orkney Brewery (Norman Sinclair) did he refuse to tell me who he bought bottles from by firstly claiming he forgot and then secondly he could not check because he lost all the bottle invoices?

Why did Dougal Sharp (Innis & Gunn) say to the Scotsman “it is widely known their sales are not as they claim yet they have gone out of their way to falsify and mislead the press.” Open and friendly?

No doubt there are some great friendly open brewers in the UK, but overall (and I am speaking in terms of our own experience and not generalities here) they are much more closed than our US comrades. We get on really well with Kernel, Dark Star, Lovibonds, Williams Brothers, Thornbridge, Hardknott, Camden, Magic Rock and others. And we are really happy to be part of this hardcore group which is changing the UK beer scene. However, the old guard of the UK brewing scene have been incredibly closed and perhaps threatened by change. And I think it was fair to make this comment I did in print and stand by it.

Oh and Kirsty, you work for Molsen Coors. Why would Martin want to discuss craft beer with you? Everything Molsen Coors stands for, represents and perpetrates is what is bad about beer in the UK.

AP said...

Fair enough. Although nowhere does the comment say the UK is 'unfriendly', which is mentioned in your post repeatedly (including the headline).

The comment is about how open the US industry is, and there is one short sentence saying that UK brewers are more closed. With all due respect, you are not a brewer and have not tried to collaborate with brewers on both sides of the Atlantic. Therefore you can't say these comments are untrue - just that in your (less informed) opinion they aren't true.

I'm not defending BD here even, just outlining the lack of a viable blog post without sensationalising the comment or bringing it out of the context of the article. Something BrewDog are often victim of - but perhaps they bring it on themselves by always having an opinion.

Basically, if you remove the fact BrewDog said the UK is an 'unfriendly' industry (which they didn't say) and there's no meat left on the bone here. Again, just my opinion though.

Kristy said...

James - the irony being the subject I challenged Martin with was his public assertion that "Brewdog only talk about themselves and don't criticise other brewers".

I do work in the industry, not that that matters and makes for a better judge, but since I'm not a brewer I shall quote our own Mr Howe "The facet about British brewing which endears it most to me is the friendliness and inclusiveness of our industry. Brewers cooperate, collaborate and we share knowledge"

If you're not seeing the same openness perhaps the challenge lies not with the UK brewing industry, which is the best in the world, but a little closer to home.

Stuart Howe said...

Perhaps James and Martin accidentally alienated themselves by stating that "British beer is sick and we are doctors" a few of years ago?

No one who is passionate about what they do likes having it slagged off without reasoned qualification.

I'm sure James and Martin warmly embrace other brewers who lazily slate the fruits of their toil.

The rest of the "hardcore" seem to manage to be great people making great beer. Shame these two can't manage either.

@Judging_Jester said...

@Stuart Howe - You might not like the way Brewdog promote themselves but I feel you are doing them an injustice when you say they don't brew good beer. Their IPA's (both Punk and Hardcore) are fantastic. Their PR might not be to everyone's taste, as the comments above show, but their beers don't seem to be an issue.

Unknown said...

James really is quite naughty, I'm sure he knows quite well that Ms McCready doesn't like being called Kirsty. I shall point thsi out to him nest time I see him. After all, it's a far bigger crime than suggesting that there aren't things that could be improved in British beer.

Personally, I like the fact that BrewDog have upset the apple cart. There are still far too many people who say bonkers stuff like "it's OK, but couldn't drink a gallon of it"

Before James and Martin the only sensible thing that came out of micro-brewing marketing departments was "made with the finest ingredients" and "Made to a traditional recipe" and rubbish like that. The worst things were awful pump clips and poor branding.

All this is looking like is a few brewers who are now getting really scared that beer sales generally are falling, while a small part of the market is growing. The rear guard to defend the loss to that growing part of the market is looking quite obvious to me now.

It's not that I agree with James' comments on Molson Coors; I have friends there and they have been really kind to me, but I think BrewDog have more to offer me right now.

So I know which side I'd take given a choice. That's business.

And if James and Martin weren't doing it, someone else surely would, just like there will always be someone making beer for the masses.

NeilC said...

I have said it before, Brewdog beers are overrated, overhyped crap. Time will see them and many others off . RIP

Sid Boggle said...

Or, Dave B, maybe it's Brewdog grinding a few axes amongst friends. If it wasn't Greg Koch's book, would they be so forthcoming? From James' comments it seems some of his neighbours haven't been very friendly or helpful. Shame, but not grounds to extrapolate an attitude amongst UK brewing generally? And I wish he wouldn't peddle that line about 'threatened by change' as if it's only Brewdog driving it. Urban myth, shurely..?

@Judging_Jester said...

Controversy creates cash. The Brewdog PR machine can rub people up the wrong way, and I can totally understand why. I do feel it's unfair, however, to call their beer crap.

Just because they blow their own trumpet, very loudly, shouldn't give people a free reign to say everything they brew is crap. Criticise their PR but surely not their brewing ability.

Ian G said...

it's a bit like shooting fish in a barrel isn't it? So easy to knock BrewDog (we're hardcore OMFG!) when they come up with utter bilge. All the times I've seen Brewers studiously avoiding eye contact so that they can remain intact and pure and not polluted by interaction with other brewers. The idea that UK Brewers are closed and uncooperative is ludicrous, and it's not just the 'new wave' or 'hardcore' (has someone been watching too much American Wrestling?) brewers who cooperate and collaborate, I just don't know where those boys buy their weed but it must be pretty powerful stuff to alter reality for them

John Clarke said...

It is cobblers (despite what the BrewDog apologists might say - hello Dave). Last year I interviewed a new local brewer who had just come into the industry and he was astonished at the amount of support, help and collaboration he had received. He'd never experienced anyhting like this in his other lines of work.

To suggest this has been taken out of context is a bit feeble because as far as I can see the context is there for all to see in your photograph.

At the end of the day I think Ed has nailed this nicely - if they insist on behaving like idiots that is how they will be treated.

Incidentally I see that James has changed his tune about other UK "craft brewers". It wasn't so long ago he had this to say in a newspaper interview:

"When I ask whether there is anyone else in UK brewing that he admires, there is a long pause as he draws a verbal pistol.

'No. Well... there is a guy called Evin who has a brewery called The Kernel in London. I love his beers,' he says. 'But we don't like the cask ale thing for a start. If you look at the flavour spectrum, there's no diversity. They call themselves by their locations. They put twee maps on the backs of their bottles. Their target market seems to be guys that hang out at train stations at the weekends. Everything is between a 3.5% and 4.5% mild. It's not exciting and it's not cool.'"

Link here:

Unknown said...

Sid, no, you're right, it isn't only BrewDog driving it, of course. But I make absolutely no secret of the fact that my own direction has been heavily influenced by these guys. I'm a little bit sorry that I'm the only brewer in the UK who is bold enough to admit that fact.

James, BrewDog said...

Kirsty - thanks for the comment. But if we wanted advice from you, it would be about how to simultaneously patronise women and bastardize beer

Stuart - the incidents I mentioned were from before the rhetoric you mentioned.

Given how we were treated by the UK brewing industry when we were just a naive blue eyed start up company, I totally stand by my comments.
Pretty telling that Dave (the only person who runs his own brewery with his own cash on the line) agrees with us. Kind of gives you a different perspective.

I would rather quit beer than work for an evil multinational, faceless, generic corporation pedalling insipid liquid cardboard like MC.

Good luck with that. However, you should realise, that by working for them, you have zero craft beer credibility whatsoever. That must suck. I would almost be sorry for you if you were not so mean about BrewDog. Jealous? probably.

Still I guess for some people being paid well and comfortable beats putting absolutely everything on the line for something they believe in.

Oh and Mr Howe, as for the fact that we don't make great beer, how many World Beer Cup Gold Medals do you have? We have 2. Are you on the ratebeer top 100 list? Thought not. And we also don't work for Satan.

Kristy said...

Thanks Dave - I'm sure the Kirsty was an unfortunate slip of the spell check, anything else would be childish.

As John points out this isn't the first time Brewdog have publicly denigrated the entire UK beer industry and then said after the fact in a much smaller forum (sorry Melissa!) "Oh, but I didn't mean you....", you're obviously very forgiving.

No one can deny Brewdog have made a big impact on the brewing scene but the market has moved on and they seem the only ones reluctant to change their tune. The real successes and brewers to admire are those like Thornbridge, Magic Rock and Kernel whos success is built on consistently brewing great beer with passion, excitement and dignity. If anyone has reason to be scared of the growth of craft beer it's Brewdog, perhaps that's why James is so tetchy.

If Brewdog weren't doing it someone else would - I very much doubt it. Fortunately the rest of the industry realise that constantly pointing out your percieved view of beer's failings rather than celebrating it's greatness doesn't make people try a different beer, it makes them opt out of beer altogether. Do you think Rose wine became so big by constantly saying red wine is shit and you're stupid for drinking it? No, wine makers concentrated on making good wines, reaching new drinkers and as a result grew the overall category and, unfortunately for us, stole massive share from beer along the way.

There shouldn't be sides, we're all in the same business, the beer business and constantly disparaging our great industry only serves to make people reject it. Why anyone who genuinly loves beer would want that, especially when we are already facing 40 years of category decline is beyond me. But then someone taking libelous potshots at other brewers before the end of January despite declaring their New Year's resolution to be "not slagging of other people off and concentrating on making awseome beer" maybe doesn't love beer as much as the rest of us.

MagicRockRich said...

I guess James can only write from experience.

We've had a lot of help from the brewing industry and Dave you're not the only brewery acknowledging BrewDogs influence.

The type of beer that BrewDog set out to make ie. US style aroma forward heavily dry hopped (in tank post fermentation) beers were not made in the UK pre-Brewdog. Who exactly were they supposed to collaboarte with/talk to?

From our point of view the beer industry would be a much less interesting place without BrewDogs beer and influence on the market.

Unfortunatley not many people in the UK beer industry like change, but change is clearly in the air.

John Clarke said...

Oh dear, this is all getting rather personal isn't it? As Corporal Jones said,"they don't like it up 'em" do they?

Dave Bailey (who is a thoroughly nice chap for those who haven't met him) is the only person who runs his own brewery with his own cash on the line? Really? Out of what I am told are now the 1000-plus breweries in the UK? I think not somehow.

And I'm sure MC loses little sleep over a lack of "craft cerdibility" - perhaps one of the most meaningless terms ever - I'm more concerend about whether a brewer make beer that is good (viewed either objectively or subjectively) rather than whether it is "crafft" - but that's perhaps another argument for another place.

Oh - and any brewer who throws his or her Ratebeer ranking around in a discussion with their peers really does need a lesson in growing up.

James Partridge said...


Unknown said...

Rich, apologies, and thanks for backing up my comments.

John, I think James means I'm the only one to have commented on here, before Rich that is, who has put up their own cash.

SteveF said...

As a mere drinker and not in the exalted position of brewer, beer writer, or eeeeeeevilllllll Molson Coors employee (and you thought that the Nazi's were bad!), it seems to me that the sensible middle ground is, as ever, largely being lost here.

Brewdog's generalisation about the openness or otherwise of the UK brewing industry is false. This is trivially easy to demonstrate. Clearly James should have included his qualification here, in the book:

"and I am speaking in terms of our own experience and not generalities here"

To provide further balance, he should also have mentioned the fact that they do get on well with other brewers in the UK. Except that fact seems to be somewhat malleable, given the quote provided by John Clarke. Unless James's actual position is that he gets on well with a bunch of British breweries, but thinks that (with the exception of Kernel) their beers are shit.

That said, I can well believe that Brewdog have met with some hostility. Partly this will be the result of their own behaviour, frankly they can be complete dicks at times, but equally I can see it resulting from entrenched attitudes in certain quarters. I doubt either side in this particular instance is without fault.

Furthermore, as Rich from Magic Rock says, Brewdog have made the UK beer scene a more interesting place. In my opinion they have, even with the negatives, very clearly been a positive influence. They largely brew good beer (plus some truly excellent beer) and are inspiring other excellent brewers such as Rich. So a definite plus overall as far as I'm concerned. Even though they act like complete tools at times.

PS, a ratebeer ratings war would be pathetic, childish and basically completely meaningless. But also pretty hilarious.

Unknown said...

So then, anyone fancy a pint?

Anonymous said...

"overall (and I am speaking in terms of our own experience and not generalities here)"

That doesn't even make sense, James. Also you've listed more brewers who you've good relations than those you've had bad relations with. Surely this isn't just more PR antics?!?!

Yvan Seth said...

I'm curious: is the UK brewing world more open now than it was pre-BrewDog?

If so (and I suspect it is) how much was BrewDog a contributor to this? Or is it an unrelated increase in openness and communication brought about by the ubiquity of social media (Twitter/Blogging/etc.)

Could a young start-up brewery doing things quite differently in 2007 have felt the brewing world was a meaner place than the same brewery would if it started up today?

Anonymous said...

It's utter rubbish that brewers are unfriendly in the UK and don't help don't help each other out. Meantime have helped brewdog out, by brewing and packaging a large proportion of their beer! Even though they claim to hate breweries who contract brew and package! Not to mention the shortening of lagering, again something they claim to hate. Oh and they can Punk at Thwaites, where there is blatantly no QA pass out as every can I have had has been infected! If you are going to claim to be whiter than white....

Sean Liquorish said...

Brewdog James, Magic Rock and Hardknott Dave :
From following twitter and other social media, it is clear that the "craft brewers" are more open to each other, far more than big brewers, with a number of collaborations in the past few years between these "craft brewers" to use a bad term, Brewdog probably were the brewery who took more extreme brewing to new level of awareness in the public eye, People such a Magic Rock and Dave are making beer as good and better in some cases, and the hole that Brewdog blew in the wall is allowing them to access a larger market if they desire that than they would have been able to otherwise.

Kristy :

In my dealings with you before, you do stick to a corporate line totally, as you would do if Molson Coors paid a salary into your bank account each month. When I posed some questions to you last year, I got a reformatted press release instead of answers. Why do people seem to like Brewdog and their brothers in extreme beer crime, personality both in their dealings with the public and the beer they make. Beers like Animee will never get anyone excited. Its not a personal comment, just you are paid MC mouthpiece, and represent a company who aren't good brewers.

Someone has to kick in the door to get noticed, the quiet guy in the corner is not going to.

Cooking Lager said...

yeh, alright Simon. It is your round yeh? But none of that craft Scottish muck eh? It's discounted supermarket grog these days.

Ian Garrett said...

utter bilge from the boys, mind you I could understand that they may find the reaction of some in the brewing industry is less than amicable when BrewDog have gone out of their way to be so friendly from the start.
As John says they can't even maintain a coherent stance whilst acting in such a duplicitous way. OK, so the Thwaites and Meantime 'cooperation' is entirely a financial arrangement they have entered into with brewers they plainly have no time for. But the idea that UK brewers are an insular lot is laughable, the ones I know are only too eager to help and advise. And the idea that nobody was being as adventurous as BD before they came along is again utter drivel, hello! Dark Star, hello Marble.
I've always thought that the brewers task was to brew good beer, the thing I've learned from BrewDog is brewing is secondary and as for good, well sometimes.

I have to say I'm looking forward to the day when the new 'HARDCORE' brewing organisation is inaugerated, I can just see all the brewers in their lurid spandex costumes collaborating on a beer with 14 Malts, 24 varieties of Hop, six strains of yeast and an old tar barrell.

Jeff Rosenmeier said...

I made some comments on twitter yesterday that this has been the opposite of my experience in starting out brewing here in the UK. I've received emergency malt, hops, yeast, packaging, parts and moral support from many of my local breweries and others that I've met in this great industry. This includes help from Stuart Howe and other brewers at large brewing companies such as Scottish and Newcastle. I can only hope that some day I am able to give enough back to repay the community for what I've taken.

I do think that brewers helping brewers is a global phenomena not just limited to the US.

With regards to BrewDog, despite sometimes disagreeing with some of their marketing and generally disagreeing with James' statements, I think they are a breath of fresh air that was required in the UK. Props to them for having more balls than me and for thinking big and not giving up despite the negativity sometimes show towards them. Like it or lump it everyone is still talking about them and this SELLS BEER and is engaging a whole new segment of the beer market in the UK.

My experiences thus far have not been 100% rosy. I have been greeted by another local brewery owner with a handshake and a whisper in my ear that said "I better put my coat on and get the f*ck out of a local event" due to it being "his territory".

I've had endless run ins with people that continue to try and convince me that my beer isn't real even though they have never brewed a single batch of beer in their life and don't know what the hell they are talking about.

I've had run ins with people running
organisations that are supposed to be supporting the industry I've entered, yet their actions are completely contrary.

I think it was Sam Calagione who said that "Brewing is 99% Asshole Free". When I have these bad experiences, I just put it down to them being the 1%.

I believe that some of what I've experienced and maybe that of what BrewDog have experienced is when beer sales people get involved.

The UK has a very tight (at least where I live) beer market that is sown up by a very few players. The effect of this is that there are a very large number of small brewers fighting for the odd hand pump and often giving beer away for the pleasure. This situation can cause some friction and I recognised this very early on and that is one reason we went 100% keg. Our local cask brewers were a little friendlier after finding out I wouldn't be kicking their beer off the bar.

Martyn Cornell said...

"Everything Molsen Coors stands for, represents and perpetrates is what is bad about beer in the UK."

Please, James, if you don't understand the difference between mass markets and niche markets, you really shouldn't be in business. That's exactly the kind of stupid, unintelligent statement that means no one will take you seriously, because it implies you haven't got a clue.

Anonymous said...

hey leave tar barrels out of this Ian ;)

StringersBeer said...

Oh now, you've embarrassed them with all this attention. Incidentally, @MagicRockRich, when did Roosters / Outlaw get airbrushed out of history?

FyneJamie said...

We're brewers and members of SIBA Scotland, and have always found the industry around here to be generally very supportive and collaborative. Our expeience of bloggers, pubs, drinkers and brewers working together is accurately summed up here:

I do wonder about the alleged dossier that Brewdog keep going on about. I'd love to know if this is real, but I'd find it very, very hard to beleive that 10 Scots Brewers really had anything to do with it.

MagicRockRich said...

@stringersbeers As far as i'm aware Roosters haven't ever chucked multiple additions of pellets into the finished beer in tank, but I might be wrong.

Ian Garrett said...

Stringers you're spot on, Sean Franklin was certainly a pioneer of American influenced brewing before the BD boys left school.

Anonymous said...

and Sean knows a LOT about balance and never saw the need to shout about it. His beers piss all over the unbalanced crap (lets tip 50kg of T90 into an FV) from brew dog!

John Clarke said...

Yes, and let's not forget Brendan Dobbin who was seriously using American and NZ hops at his West Coast Brewery in Manchester almost 20 years ago - his Yakima Grande Pale Ale (a cask recreation of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale - but with arguably a higher hop profile) amd his Green Bullet single hop house beer for the Crown in Stockport are the stuff of legend - and largely unknown to many new brewers , beer geeks and bloggers.

MagicRockRich said...

I wasn't suggesting that BrewDog were the first to use US and NZ hops in the UK, of course many brewers pre-date them with that and I'm well aware of Brendan Dobbins and Sean Franklins legacy.

The point I was making is that BrewDog were the first brewery in the UK to embrace specific US dry hopping techniques to their beer.

That is large and multiple pellet hopping additions in cold conditioning. To my knowledge none of the brewers mentioned were doing this pre-BrewDog but I may be wrong.

I'm not saying other breweries weren't heavily dry hopping, but most would be using whole hops in fermentation or cask which is completely different and gives a different flavour/aroma profile to the very US way BrewDog followed.

Erlangernick said...

Just stumbling across this rather late...sorry.

This west-coast Yank is not very impressed with BrewPup's attempts at brewing "hop-forward" or whatever post-modern Yankobier. Had a fabulous pint of cask-conditioned Punk in a Welsh pub a couple of years ago, but otherwise, meh. It's drinkable, what I can get sent to Franconia in bottles, but nothing at all special.

Then again, so much Yankobier that these guys are so impressed with is in term pretty lame. And I have absolutely 0 interest in their hyper-strong stuff, maybe that's what's so highly rated at

The hulaballoo about Sink the Bismark vs. Schorschbräu that played out on German TV a year or two ago, now THAT was entertaining.

Triple fff Brewer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Triple fff Brewer said...

Fullers have been dry hopping specific beers with pellets in their conditioning tanks for a very long time

Anonymous said...

a good brewdog story (bitch), always gets people on to your website.
Well done Melissa probably the most people you have ever had reading your blog

Michael Ironside said...

Am I the only one who is f**king sick of this conversation by now? Yawn

BrewDog Shareholder said...

Nothing drives up your blog traffic like a BrewDog controversy, eh Ms Cole?!

Keep up the outrage, it'll do wonders for your wiki listing...

Melissa Cole said...

Oh hello anonymous trolls, what took you so long?! Couldn't give a toss about Wiki, if I did I'd blog more, that's how it works!!

John Clarke said...


Brendan Dobbin only used hop pellets in fact, and as far as I recall (it was some years ago now) also dry hopped with them.

Jeff Alworth said...

There's a reason US craft breweries are so open with one another: the market has been growing in double digits for a decade. When that changes, the openness will change as well. It's not an inaccurate observation, it's just a time-specific one.

Doug Donelan said...

Seems you can’t express an opinion these days without somebody asking you to apologise for it, so dare not draw from your own experience lest it may differ from others, easier for us all to think the same about everything and once that achieved we’d still reason to call each other names.

bedfont said...

I assume they are pandering to US prejudice that we're all stuffed suits by doing this is what everyone from meantime to Brew Dog and Piers Morgan to Nick Luck do.

All Berks.

Glover Lover said...

Great news that we can all look forward to more availability of Molson Coors' fantastic range of real ales:
The likes of White Shield and P2 Imperial Stout have not craft beer credibility then James? Once again shooting your mouth off while disregarding the important stuff like facts.

Melissa Cole said...

@James just to address your comments, I believe that there has been a polar shift in the nature of the UK brewing industry in the last 10 years, have you been part of that? Undoubtedly.

But why do you insist on trying to pull apart the industry you claim to love? You've got such a platform that you could easily instigate change in a much more positive manner, instead you insist on going the negative route and I just can't stand aside as you try and paint this country's brewing community as a bunch of creative misers.

And, if you do get on so well with the 'new guard', then why tar them with the same brush as those you've found unfriendly in a publication that's going to be read quite widely?

You did the same thing in the Herald when you said that you basically only like Kernel beers, where were the mentions of your 'mates' at Lovibonds, Dark Star and the others then?

I also think that holding onto your grudge about someone not telling you about bottles in 2007 is more than a little over the top.

It's like me nursing a grudge about every piece of sexist nonsense that's been aimed at me over the years and saying that the whole of the UK brewing industry is run by misogynists, it's not, there are just a couple of idiot dinosaurs who are unpleasant, not the industry as a whole, yet you've taken some of your experiences and decided to portray the entire UK brewing community as unfriendly.

Please just stop being so negative all the time, you could be so much better than that.

John said...

FWIW I really don't think Melissa (and we've had our disagreements in the past) needs to rely on bashing Brewdog to *help* her reputation. Give her more credit FFS.

Melissa Cole said...

Thanks John, kind of you to say

Dave Unpronounceable said...

Mixed feelings on this one! Speaking as a brewer, I have never seen an industry where most of the participants are so ready and willing to help out their 'competitors' (for such we are - we're all aiming at the same relatively small market). The recent trend of collaborations takes this another step, though is possibly more commercially justifiable. If Brewdog's experience is different then that is sad, though their demeanour could be said to be not geared to making friends!

We like to think of ourselves as one of Britain's more progressive breweries. Are we copying Brewdog? No. Were we influenced by Brewdog? Of course we bloody were! In terms of our attitudes and recipes, we look more to America directly than via BD, but I do think they've helped pave the way in this country. IMO a lot of what Brewdog does now goes beyond what I want from beer, and I really can't be arsed with their publicity stunts (as for the pointless 2/3pint glass…), but their contribution to the British beer market can't be overlooked. They gave British brewing a much needed kick up the arse - for all the good CAMRA did saving ale 40 years ago, they've not noticed it's not 1970 any more. If it were down to them pubs would still be full of toffeeish crystal-malt laden best bitters and of course mild… Brewdog have been massively instrumental in promoting the concept of beer that actually tastes nice rather than something to be simply quaffed - especially to those who don't want to or don't have the opportunity to buy uberhoppy US imports. No, I'm not saying Brewdog were first to brew super-hoppy beer in the UK, but they've probably brought it to the widest audience

English Yank said...

What a wonderful advertisement for BrewDog! Sales will be even higher in February. Great job guys and keep expanding. We need more of your beer here in the US. Even in Denver, where I sit right now drinking an Odell Saboteur. How about an Odell-Brewdog Collaboration or maybe you guys could do one with Crooked Stave or Funkwerks. Cheers!

Melissa Cole said...

@MagicRockRich I know for sure that Dark Star were doing exactly this kind of hopping in the early-mid 2000s and I would hazard that there were others as well...

Anonymous said...

I see our friends at Brewdog are inviting ideas for what they can put into their brew this morning. Dare I suggest they've pretty much got it licked as far as brewing is concerned and just add a drop of humility instead?

Tom Eldridge said...

I really think that this is a generalisation on Brewdog’s part and that people shouldn’t get so offended by it. Each person always has their own story, which comes with its own experiences, and this is theirs. It doesn’t make their statement true; it’s their perspective, their experience.

However, for Brewdog’s future reference, I would avoid painting everyone with the same brush as generalisations are useful to no one. You can't speak for every fledgling brewery, just yourselves.

And please try to avoid discrediting people’s opinion just because they aren’t brewers. I believe that beer is democratic and anyone should be welcome to comment, despite their background, profession or experience.

Brewdog’s attitude here has put me right off them.

Saga Of Nails said...

I doubt whether I shall ever stock Brewdog beer in my pub. I just don't like their attitude. When I emailed a quick note supporting them about the BBF thing they were quite happy to talk to me, but when I mentioned that I thought it was a bit naff them not doing much cask any more there was no response at all. So much for being happy to talk about things.
They were happy to set a up a deal getting their fugly beer fonts in a small local chain of pubs in Bristol when it suited them, but then they saw a bigger market and then decided that they couldn't be bothered to organise delivery to Bristol any more.
I have not met them, but there attitude appears to me identical to a stroppy teenager, who is happy to talk when the subject is themselves, but throw a tantrum when they are not the centre of attention.
Nice beer, but it comes with an immature attitude. There are people in this country making better beer who are not such a pain in the backside.

FavouriteBeersLeigh said...

A bit late coming to this one, but felt I should add a view that I feel very deeply about.

18 months ago I embarked on a total change of career, moving from a 32 year career in Software and IT, into the beer industry (I opened a specialist beer shop). The primary reason that I made this move was because over the previous six years I had got to know many of the people involved in beer in and around Gloucestershire whilst organising the Cheltenham Beer Festival for a local charity. The people I met were all friendly, open, passionate about their craft and most of all they helped each other! This was like a breath of fresh air to me after the back-stabbing politics that I encountered in the corporate world and I really did just think 'This is an industy I need to work in'.

Since opening the shop I have met and regularly engaged with many, many more people in the industry - brewers, publicans, wholesalers, writers, retailers - the list goes on, but with just a very few exceptions, everyone seems to live up to my initial impressions.

So hey, maybe it is even better in the States, but maybe the good people at Brewdog should just think themselevs lucky that they work in the industry they do.