It’s a rare, when a bit of brewing news finds its way into the national press: but a couple of weeks ago, in the middle of June (on what was undoubtedly a slow news day) the quality newspapers all spared a few paragraphs to cover the scandal surrounding Sharp’s brewery.
If it passed you by, the bare bones of the story is that Sharp’s owner, the megacorp Molson Coors had moved production of its flagship Cornish beer Doom Bar nearly 300 miles away to Burton on Trent.
So what, you may ask? When a multinational buys out a smaller concern, it is primarily concerned with the branding: production can be shifted to a more sensible location, recipes changed and workforce laid off. Expect future posts about the defecation habits of bears and what religion Pope Francis observes.
A beers historical association with a particular region or town may be worth a great deal and unlike wine, there is no governing body overseeing such things. Newcastle Brown (owned by Heineken) is now brewed in Tadcastle, Boddington’s (AB-InBev) is no longer brewed in Manchester, Innis & Gunn (never brewed in Edinburgh) moved production out of Belhaven and into the Tennent’s Brewery in Glasgow a couple of years back. This is before we get into the murky world of the mass-produced cooking lagers: Eric Cantona can bang on about Alsace hop farms as much as he wants, but the Kronenbourg in your glass almost certainly came from Manchester. There is nothing illegal or dodgy about this, it’s just how capitalism works and the vast majority of consumers couldn’t give a flying monkey.
But it is dishonest and frankly rather naff.
But nowhere near naff enough to stop us doing it.
A few months ago we asked the very talented Gavin at the Tempest brewery down in the borders to knock us up a couple of beers. Our first, was the Choose Leith NZPA, a great wee beer that will hopefully be returning to our shelves in the very near future. The second has just hit the shelves and we think it’s rather bloody lovely. It’s a 5.1% abv, straight down the line, roasted malt porter, with a mellow, medium weight, chocolate, nut and roast coffee character. Making for an unchallenging, yummy, dark beer with just enough going on to satisfy event the most jaded palate.
And what have we chosen to call this new beer? Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce Porter Leith ?
It may be brewed a long way from Leith, but I hope we can be forgiven, simply for the quality of the pun
It goes on sale today and is priced at £2 per 330ml bottle. Cheers.