Going Sober for October

mysoberThis year I’ve decided to do it. Don’t ask me why. I don’t mean that I’ve got no reason to do it, I just mean don’t ask me because I’ve already explained why on my donation page.

I realise there’s a certain kind of conflict in doing this, when so much of my life involves alcohol [in both business and pleasure], but I’m openly a man of contradictions, and I’m going to give it a go come what may.

I’ll be posting about aspects of it over on my other blog, but I just wanted to record it here, that it’s going ahead and to reassure all my many fans that I still have lots of notes to write up and old posts to publish, so providing I make the time, I’ll still be writing about beer, if not enjoying tasting it.

Sounds like masochism to me…

[Here’s that link again to my donation page, in case you missed it: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Martin-Palmer5]


Why we have two budweisers


Budweiser is everywhere at the moment, i have no doubt its because of that truly awful Super Bowl advert, Myself and Martin wrote very long piece in regards to that (here), so I’m not going to retread old ground here, One of the points i brought up there was the fact that we have two companies with a claim to Budweiser name and that somehow i know the reason for that, so i thought that because I’m desperately avoiding doing any actual work at the moment i would explain that process to you.

So last year Anheuser-busch was awarded the trademark for Bud here in europe (here), i know because i read about it and several other things that day, I also wrote about it because i have no real life, It was quite a controversial claim because despite what budweiser would have you believe they are not the only producers of beer in the world, They were not the first producers of beer and they just plum stole the recipe for Budweiser for the czech republic district of Budvar. A very similar beer to modern day Budweiser has been produced and consumed in this part of the world since 1265, Now for those of you who saw that good damn awful bud advert you no doubt aware that they have been brewing beer since 1879. i’m going to spell this out for lots of people, that means Budvar is several hundred years older than budweiser, yet somehow it ended up being made in America.

The answer to why this is down to a strange quirk in early american copyright laws, i want to get one thing straight, Anheuser-busch did steal the recipe from Budvar by modern day standards, They went to the area (then part of austria-Hungary), They tasted it and took it back to America, Now the people weren’t nessacaryily happy about this but had no real recourse, this is down to copyright or lack there of as the case may be. the distance between the two helps but this stopped being an issue sometime later, the world is a lot smaller than it used it be.

Following the American war of independence there was very little economic or cultural power in america, they naturally hid this lack of anything with an open door immigration policy and successive wars because nothing makes money quite like killing a bunch of people. one of the ways the government tried to speed up cultural growth was through very lax copyright laws, and by lax i off course mean non existent. the way the law was applied was justly, if your product was manufactured in america then it was entitled to full copyright protection, if it was not manufactured there then nothing, this meant that many american companies just plain copied their international forebears, this copying was so prolific that many pieces of china from this time are manufactured in America rather than china, this is something antique dealers are very aware of, if your one of those people that watches Antiques roadshow they references this on a couple of occasions, so Budweiser is a shameless rip off and its not until the 20th century with the advent of the internet that many of us knew, so we have two budweisers, original ok budweiser and the headache in a bottle budweiser that we have all grown to hate and its all thanks to a quirk of copyright.

i’m just going to let that sink in for a moment, the reason america is such a cultural powerhouse is down to them having no copyright, the country most obsessed with copyright only got into the place to bully others about copyright was by ignoring others, so why didn’t we fix it when america started recognising foreign brands, the answer to that is a another simple one, The Soviet Union, when the world was asked to choose between the soviets or the americans most of western europe choose the americans and as a result they favoured american brands over soviet ones. this insured that any claim by Budvar would go largely unnoticed within the European union, fast forward to today and budweisers huge advertising budget has insured that they are the only bud in many peoples eyes and thats a shame for many reason, Money really can grow a brand better than actual handwork i guess.

Conmy Valley brewer hands tax cut over to charity


Jonathan Hughes (pictured) from the Great Orme microbrewery will be giving the money it has saved from its recent tax cuts to charity that will help children with drinking problems. He will donate every single penny from the recent tax cut to the National Association of Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa). Johnathan also pleaded with other brewers to follow his lead.

“My plan is that rather than pocketing that 1p duty reduction, we donate it to Nacoa,” said Mr Hughes, whose brewery is based at Glan Conwy.

“I would call on other alcohol producers – big and small – to look at practical ways they can help reduce the effects of alcohol abuse on society.

Although his contribution will only be a slight one, its nice to see a brewer taking a positive stance against alcoholism.

“British beer making is in a renaissance, with more small producers offering a wealth of amazing real ales and true regional diversity.

“However, I do believe that if we, as a sector, are to be socially responsible then we must acknowledge the potential negative aspects of alcohol and take steps to address it.”







Via (here)

Pubaid and Camra launch charity month


Camra have launched their latest self promotion initiative today, They have signed up with Pubaid to help them launch the pubs and charity month. This initiative has been going on for several years and last year raised more than 106 million for lots of different charities, That’s about £2742 per pub. I guess Camra didn’t like someone else getting the spotlight but its still nice to see them putting their marketing might behind this movement.

A recent study found that 85% of pubs were actively raising money for charity despite some very trying times for the pub industry as a whole, donations have increased by 5% since 2010. So given these figures, Camra will be encouraging pubs to host more charity events, Camra also feels this may help struggling pubs bring in lapsed business and help change the larger lout image that has become associated with many pubs.

Mike Benner, CAMRA’s chief executive, said:

CAMRA and PubAid feel it is time British pubs got the recognition for the amazing funds they raise for numerous charities across Britain. Pubs can get unfairly blamed for a lot of anti-social behaviour but often the alcohol that has led to these problems has not been drunk in pubs.

“The pub industry has been struggling in these tough economic times, but our new research shows all parties win if pubs run charity events. The charities get important funds, pubs get busier and the locals get some fun events to attend. We hope everyone will encourage their local pub to participate in July’s Pubs & Charity month and the community will support these activities.”

Des O’Flanagan, one of the co-founders of PubAid, said:

What other industry can demonstrate such generosity and selflessness in this economic climate? These results should act as a reminder that pubs are very much part of the fabric of our community and make a meaningful contribution.

“The PubAid team is dedicated to combatting the areas of the press and perception from some corners that view pubs as only having a negative contribution to society. We do this by sharing the work that pubs do for charitable causes. The contribution of licensees and their customers is made even more  amazing if you consider the financial pressure licensees and consumers are under at the moment.”

This venture has already proven a success for one big pub chain linked to camra, JD weatherspoons, which has raised 7 million pounds for CLIC Sargent, to help fight cancer.

Lorraine Clifton, chief executive of CLIC Sargent, said: “This is a towering achievement by J D Wetherspoon and it means everything to the children and young people and their families whom we look after. Every penny raised means we can help more children and young people and their families coping with cancer. That is priceless.”

this is a nice idea and i support it, hence why i wrote about it. Would you go to more pubs if they hosted charity nights?