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I should really be doing an update on our Saturday Kitchen attack and further considerations for a general attack on the media for not covering beer. It's been an interesting week that's for sure, and when an activity starts to raise a few questions about its appropriateness then you know it's starting to have an effect. There have been various discussions on twitter and blogs about the whole subject and I'm going to take stock in good time. Watch for a further post soon.

Meanwhile, I like to drill deeper into these things; Why is beer seen as such an unworthy subject for many of the major media productions? The answer to this I'm sure is complex and too much for my tiny brain. Still, I do have some ideas, and I'd like to explore them further.

My friends over at Pumpclip Parade did bemuse me slightly when it started; I still bought into the "well, it's just a laugh......." argument put forward in defence of childish puns, irritating alliteration, and bawdy Viz style jokes on pumpclips. The main ringleader of Pumpclip Parade, Jeff Pickthall, had a direct attack at me because of my amusement at Wychwood branding a short time after I started writing on this blog.

Despite that on-line poke at my good character, I have remained good friends with Jeff, and he has slowly whittled away at what has turned out to be a nerdy bias towards certain things1, like for instance the best beer can only ever be served from a cask. Or for that matter, that micro-brewed beer is inherently better than that made in a bigger brewery.

What I am very interested in is how beer can be given better stature across a broader cross section of demographics and there are a lot of things that let beer down in that respect. Branding is just one of them. The branding and image of "Real Ale" in particular is suffering with alarming contemptibility. For this reason we have avoided using "Ale" as a descriptor for our beer and will shortly be engaging in some publicity that more overtly promotes our cask beer as anything but old fashioned and stuffy "Ale"

I'm sure this will cause some shouting about how we are anti CAMRA, which is not true. What we are is pro-beer. We want all beer to succeed, and for it to do so we have to recognise that there might be some things that don't advertise beer that well.

I'll leave you with something that did amuse me, but at the same time worries me. A pumpclip by the well respected Mordue brewery. "A'l Wheat Pet" - I did laugh, out loud too. But on reflection I thought it also localised silliness, which if contained within the geeky pubs I love over in the North East might do no harm. I do think this sort of thing does have a continual and indelible subliminal impact on quality food and drink writers, newspaper editors or broadcast producers alike.

This pumpclip stirred something in my brain. It started to irritate me, despite the NE accent and dialect being my favourite regional vocal sound. I tweeted the image for the attention of @Pumpclip parade as I thought, despite Mordue's good branding image, it was just on the wrong side of the line for the overall good of beer. I got a couple of replies suggesting that it was generally clever and amusing, suggesting perhaps I overreacted. An interesting debate to have, where does the line exist? After all, I used to like Goblins, especially if they mocked lager drinkers, but not now, partly because I've found that given the right lager, I drink it.

In summary, the wider world thinks beer is either mass produced lager for drunken hooligans or "Real Ale" of invariably poor quality, brewed by good people with the right intentions, but with little flair or imagination, doing things on a shoe string, in sheds, for old fashioned, penny pinching, poor joke loving, deliberately fashion snubbing, anti-commerce ageing hippies2. Perhaps it is no wonder beer doesn't appear on the TV.


1He has failed to convince me that ketchup is a good accompaniment for double fried chips any more than anyone could convince me that shandy is a worthy beer cocktail, but there you go.

2and I realised, I probably fit into some of those descriptions too.