Nov 25 2022
It takes SOMETHING these days to wake this blog up. I was seriously contemplating sacking it off. I was out of things I wanted to say. Things that I cared about.
Then, last night, on an NFL Beer Twitter Fantasy Football group I was lucky enough to be invited onto, something got mentioned about “Beer Twitter” being agitated.
After the doors closed – for me – on Hemsley House on Tuesday lunch, I don’t pay any attention. But then, this morning, the above bit of marketing flashed by my eyes. Like a turd floating by, close to the riverbank.
And it stank. I wrinkled my nostrils. And my piss boiled (sorry Elaine! I know you’ve trademarked that!)
I’m in the comedown phase of The Independent Salford Beer Festival. Paying invoices. Wanting to put this in the rear view mirror, maybe for good. Stick that proverbial fork in me. I’m done.
This event is – in my mind – directly linked to the small independent retail beer sector. Those little bottle shops (as they were in 2012 (only the Macros had canning lines back then). Places like Bierhuis (in Ossett), Micro Bar in the Arndale, The Liquor Shop in Prestwich, Beer Central in Sheffield, Otters Tears in Burslem. .lLatterly, Craft Brewtique in Urmston, Stirchley Wines in Birmingham, House of Hops in Swinton, Northern Type in Eccles.
These places – for a fledgling Beer Blogger, were places of wonder, places of beer discovery. I got to sample breweries like Five Towns, North Riding, Revolutions, Brass Castle, Bad Seed. And wrote about what I tasted. In faltering, hesitant words. Amateurish? I would say so. But I drank these wonderful beers. And gradually built up a following.
These places, some gone, many still here, are the very foundation stones upon which the success of SO MANY BREWERIES – was built. Without places like these, there likely wouldn’t be the “scene” you now take for granted.
This blog led to me being asked – in early 2014 – to organise a beer festival to help fund a local community centre. So. Directly. The Independent Salford Beer Festival owes its “success” to those small independent retailers. Those places that introduced me to a different world of taste. Those places where you can chat with knowledgeable people like David (Bierhuis), Damian (Ale Man – now Heaton Hops). People who know their stuff. Can guide, help to to find the good stuff. Tim and Krishan at Stirchley do the same. Jay at Craft Brewtique the same.
Then. You see these businesses being royally shat on. By an interloper. Whose very existence owes a debt to those very small independent outlets that were the pathfinders. The vanguard of small pack craft beer.
“Shithousery” was a word that cropped up on the socials repeatedly.
The blowback was fierce. From people who cared about those small outlets. Struggling like everybody else in the industry. People with families to feed. Staff to pay. Livelihoods on the line. Being shat on by a company operating like a small pack Wetherspoons. Peddling at the lowest prices. And boasting about it.
Blame it on a marketing agency blunder. But this fault lies with the business itself.
The Independent Salford Beer Festival owes an enormous debt to these small outlets. It stands in the shoulders of these Giants.
I can’t thank them enough. And they don’t deserve such shit from a company scrabbling for fucking market share in times like this.
Beer 52 can get in the sea.