View Full Version : Boak and Bailey's Beer Blog - A Disruptive Influence?

Blog Tracker
12-03-2015, 09:12
Visit the Boak and Bailey's Beer Blog site (http://boakandbailey.com/2015/03/a-disruptive-influence/)

http://boakandbailey.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/stringers_label.pngOne of the most critical and questioning voices in the world of British beer is not a writer but a brewer: Jon Kyme of Stringers (http://www.stringersbeer.co.uk/).When he blogs, it is usually because someone has provoked him by, for example, a brewery has made*a claim in marketing material that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, and he often adopts indirectly the persona of ‘The Professor (http://stringersbeer.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=professor&max-results=20&by-date=true)‘ to deliver lectures laced with economics, science and philosophy.
On Twitter, he often posts acidic sub-Tweets (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/blog/2014/jul/23/subtweeting-what-is-it-and-how-to-do-it-well) picking up on factual errors, grandiose claims, or even just typos. In comments on various blogs, he is similarly sharp (http://hardknott.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/a-beer-for-that-brewers-view.html), in both senses of the word.
What got us thinking most recently, however, was a series of Tweets from earlier in the week:

So, that camden hells is an absolutely bog standard euro lager isn't it?
— Stringers Beer (@stringersbeer) March 8, 2015 (https://twitter.com/stringersbeer/status/574632962240704512)

… and you want to drink that beavertoon neckoil fast, cos as soon as the hops start fading theres a nasty sulphur / cabbage thing
— Stringers Beer (@stringersbeer) March 8, 2015 (https://twitter.com/stringersbeer/status/574633560604307458)

… and the Gamma Ray is a bit better. Same issue but less so.
— Stringers Beer (@stringersbeer) March 8, 2015 (https://twitter.com/stringersbeer/status/574642490201997313)

While it’s not unusual for brewers to complain about beer they’ve bought, it’s usually expressed in cryptic terms, or off the record, in emails, Twitter DMs or face to face. A brewer reviewing other breweries’ beers feels like a deliberate act of provocation.
Intrigued, we decided to drop him an email with a few questions*and find out what drives him to be, in the best possible sense, a disruptive influence in the world of beer. His response opened with the following typically impassioned paragraph:
It’s funny isn’t it. Like @seethelizards (https://twitter.com/seethelizards) said ‘Ssshhh. You’re not supposed to mention that (https://twitter.com/seethelizards/status/574633684403380224)‘. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that Camden lager — but that was never the question was it? And after all, they’re the ones who made it not about the beer. About the London-ness of it, rather. Which turned out to be a bit of a ‘stretch’. And now they’ve asked for (and got) free money, just so that they can deliver what they’ve always been promising. I can’t believe I’m the only person who’s turned off by this. The elephant in the room has done a huge dump in the corner.
What drives you to question and criticise your peers? Why do you think others don’t?
Many of them are not our peers. We’re just in the business of making more-or-less nice beer on a small scale. They’re (some of them) in the business of brand-building. They’ve got the capital and the beer is a means to an end. Brands are about the commodification of relationships. Building a customer base that can be sold on.
Why would I criticise my peers? I was raised to give and take criticism… And I’ve had my nose broken for it before now. Why don’t people criticize the cool brands? Herd behaviour — a consensus gets formed and people move to it. People want to be seen to be on track, on message. Hanging out with the cool kids.
I’ve never been one of the cool kids. Always one of the weirdos.
Do you think bloggers and writers do enough to ‘call out’ dodgy practices and/or bad beer? How much patience do you have for writers and/or raters in general?
The writers (blogs or wherever) who tell us new stuff or dig up history or interesting ideas? Great stuff. Let’s have more of that. The ones who channel the herd mind? Feck ‘em. Raters who know nothing about beer, or who hold forth based on a sip from a panda pops bottle shared with half a dozen others on a train to a ticking session. Feck them too. People on an honest personal exploration of the wonderful world of beer? Good luck to them.
I don’t think it would be a bad thing if there was more confrontation. Getting the tone right would probably be the challenge. It’s hard to do without coming over peevish. But it would make things more entertaining.
Do you ever say something about or to another brewer(y) and then regret it? (We think we’ve noticed posts disappearing from your blog in the past.)
No regrets. I don’t think I’ve pulled a post. Might be wrong. Can’t remember. I usually run things past Becky so she can stop me making an utter arse of myself.
Are you as challenging face-to-face as you can be online?
I’m a nice bloke really, but I can be a bit gnarly. But I’ve moved in circles where I’d be considered a complete pussy-cat.
Are we reading too much into this? Are you surprised to be characterised as ‘challenging’?
It’s context isn’t it? If we’re all supposed to be patting each other on the back all the time, then anyone who comes out as merely ‘unconvinced’*stands out rather.
A Disruptive Influence? (http://boakandbailey.com/2015/03/a-disruptive-influence/) from Boak & Bailey's Beer Blog - Over-thinking beer, pubs and the meaning of craft since 2007 (http://boakandbailey.com)

More... (http://boakandbailey.com/2015/03/a-disruptive-influence/)