It’s a vaguely productive but incredibly restoring weekend, here. I’ve been going through the dimmer recesses of my fridge and finally pulling out things like Brewaucracy’s ‘In Triplicate’ — pictured, at right, not too long ago and still going as I write this —and belatedly realised that last weekend was so (oddly) productive that I neglected my Sunday Reading completely. As a tradition, we’re off to a shaky start indeed — but postponements of various kinds and durations are par for the course, around here; if anything, that is the meta-level tradition.
George and I — and a plus-one who didn’t really count as a guest in the usual sense — sat down for a podcast recording session yesterday, and I’ve got my Matariki and Beervana debriefs in draft form; more-regular transmission stands a good chance of soon resuming. Meanwhile, there’s still plenty going on to catch up with:
- Boak & Bailey’s ‘Let’s Go Long’ collection. If you’re ever short of reading material, checking in here is a wise move, and it looks like they’re planning on making a tradition out of it — which is good news for all concerned and something for us Antipodeans to aspire to joining in. Ron Pattinson contributed a head-crushing thirty-five tonnes of words in the form of his work-in-progress history of porter, which is worth a look for the detail into which real history — of the myth-busting and evidence-gathering kind — must necessarily go. But my favourite so far is the curators’ own piece on the (often shamefully untold) history of beer and women. (B&B’s site also sets the gold standard for lists of disclosures and pre-emptive responses to lazy PR.)
- The Froth-Blower’s Manual, by Pat Lawlor1. Em found me this for my relatively-recent birthday, and it’s an enduring source of flip-through-it entertainment. It’s positively a relic, published in the sixties though with content that apparently mostly dates from closer to a century ago, but is properly charming despite its incredibly-dubious reliability. Neil Miller’s raved about it a few times before, and it seems relatively easy to find in libraries and second-hand bookstores.
- Heineken’s effort to target the over-60s, as reported on The BeerCast, with assistance from the author’s admirably-crotchety dad. It turns out that Heineken run a kind of crowd-sourcing ‘Ideas Brewery’, which feels like a fairly stark and sad admission that they don’t really know what they’re doing. The insight into their processes is hugely telling; the blunt reaction of a relatively random real person is damning.
- Moa’s Disingenuous Shitfight #1: Cloudy Bay. Hitting a few stumbling blocks with the consenting process for their — necessary, if their business plan has any hope in Hell — expansion, Moa are in a slagging match with one of their neighbours. A nearby winery has objected to their proposal and Moa responded with a press release wherein “Moa CEO Geoff Ross says the brewer is considering housing its new facility in a ‘winery’ to appease the French” — knowing full well that it’s not the size of the facility that counts, it’s the level of use; wineries are (largely) once-a-year hives of activity whereas breweries can be productive (and thereby noisy, etc.) every single day. Given how often Moa wank on about their founder’s winemaking experience, I think you’d be excused for expecting them to know that…
- Moa’s Disingenuous Shitfight #2: Tui / DB / APB / Heineken. Meanwhile, a Tui billboard appeared, satirising Moa’s recently-tanked share price, and Josh Scott (through a rather-obvious ghost writer) hit back with one of their wordy full-pagers which managed to entirely undermine what could’ve actually been a good dig about the labyrinthine ownership of the Mega-Congloms — if they hadn’t just said that it should be “all about the beer”. If ownership’s fair game (and it is), then share price is fair game. Moa really are levelling-up their Hypocrisy, these days; “foreign ownership” is a big element of Shitfight #1, too — but it’s a bit rich given that Geoff Ross made a chunk of his brewery-buy-in money by cashing a cheque from a bunch of Cubans. The take-home lesson from both Shitfights, if you ask me, is that there can always be more than one bad guy in any given conflict; there’s not necessarily a hero, there’s often just two equally-obnoxious losers taking drunken, uncoordinated swipes at each other.
- And finally, an irrelevancy, because I’m an enormous fan of The Simpsons and was already feeling relatively philosophical about its legacy since I just last night farewelled my beloved — if anything, even moreso — Futurama. Again.
1: Not that that biography mentions TFBM, shamefully. Meanwhile, the other readily-Googleable “Pat Lawlor” is responsible for the stupidly-awesome Twilight Zone pinball table. It’s an auspicious name. ↑