Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Colorado brewer uses waste to power brewery The New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado is about to start using methane gas - a byproduct of the brewing process - to power its brewery. Ultimately, the system will help to reduce the brewery's reliance on city power, lower its energy costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Ross Alarid, the brewery's environmental health and safety technician points out that "It's an environmentally sound process ... We'll benefit, the community will benefit and the environment will benefit." The system works when methane is captured in what looks like a big balloon and is then piped to an onsite cogeneration plant where it powers an engine, which creates electricity and heats water for the brewery. Methane alone cannot power the brewery, so the balance is bought in from the Fort Collins' wind power program that uses wind turbines in Wyoming.

The plant is expected to pay for itself in 4-5 years in reduced energy costs.
Norwich Fat Cat wins again The Fat Cat in Norwich has won the Good Pub Guide's "National Beer Pub of the Year" award for the second time in four years. The pub which effectively runs a permanent beer festival with its ever-changing list of guest beers picked up the award for its continued excellence in cellarmanship. The Good Pub Guide (as opposed to the Good Beer Guide) is an independent guide to Britain's top pubs , listing more than 5000 of the UK's best pubs. The entry in the 2003 Guide notes that keeping a wide selection of ales in top condition was "an extraordinary feat", especially as the Fat Cat manages to serve up over 20 at any given time.

"Open all day, this is a classic town pub, with a good mix of customers and a lively bustling atmosphere at some times of the day, and tranquil lulls in the middle of the afternoon...The no-nonsense furnishings include plain scrubbed pine tables and simple solid seats, lots of brewery memorabilia, bric-a-brac and stained glass."

Your editor can confirm that the Norwich Fat Cat (along with its smaller sister in Ipswich) are both fantastic pubs, and well worth a visit or eight.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Plastic glasses rule for rowdy pubs A government consultation document on managing the anti-social effects of "circuit" drinking has identified broken glass as one of the major hazards. The document notes that "The most visible effect many of us see from alcohol misuse is in our town and city centres: pavements littered with broken bottles and streets too intimidating to pass through" Rowdy city centre pubs could be forced to serve drinks in plastic glasses and bottles with local authorities being told to grant licences to the worst pubs only if they ban glass.

Unsurprisingly, Nick Bish, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers was unimpressed."It's a knee-jerk reaction to a particular issue. There is a real world out there in which violence plays a part, but the solution is to create an environment in which violence is diminished." Other ideas being studied include whether improving late-night public transport could reduce rowdiness and whether policing methods could be altered to deal with drunks more effectively.

Oddly enough, missing from the list is the long-awaited review of licensing hours which, by effectively staggering (no pun intended) kicking-out time, has long been feted by both the trade and the public as an easy solution.
Real Ale suffers due to incoherent advertising Market reserach group Datamonitor have written an interesting piece here about why Real Ale is atill having problems expanding its broad customer base. It suggests that it's not merely the fact that the marketing budgets are considerably smaller, but that each brewery is "doing its own thing" based on the perceived strengths of their own product. Lager advertising on the other hand is much more homogeneous in terms of look-and-feel resulting in a HUGE "Drink Lager!" message with brand-specific messages on top. It would be ironic if one of Real Ale's greatest strengths - the tremendous variety and choice from a large number of producers - was one of the things which prevented easy growth of the market.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Beer is good for you (the story continues) Research by specialists at King's College and St Thomas' hospital has found that a glass of beer a day is one of the best ways to ensure ensure strong and healthy bones. The resarch programme showed that your intake of silicon (absorbed from the soil by plants, especially by cereals) can be directly linked to bone strength. They also noted that beer is one of the richest sources of silicon in the modern diet. According to Jonathan Powell, senior lecturer in nutrition and honorary senior lecturer in medicine at King's College "Silicon is a potentially very important element in bone function, and there is no doubt that beer is a very good source of silicon. The average intake of silicon is 30 mg a day, and half a pint of beer will give you 6 mg — 20 percent — of that" he said. "Moreover, not only is beer a relatively high source of silicon in our diet, the amount we absorb from it is more than from other foods."

Friday, October 18, 2002

Conkers bonkers Health and safety officials in Kent have made a pub erect a sign warning patrons that, at this time of year, conkers fall from horse chestnut trees.
Rochester council have enforced the move on the Golden Lion after a mother complained that her five-year-old son had been hit on the head. The entrance way to the beer garden at the Wetherspoon's pub now features a sign warning drinkers and staff: "Please be aware of falling conkers from tree above." The tree itself, is safe from harm as it has a tree protection order on it, imposed by Rochester council...
National Award for St Peters St Peter's Brewery has won two gongs at the Organic Foods Awards, sponsored by the Soil Association. St Peter's Organic Ale won the award for best organic beer and St Peter's Organic Best Bitter received a highly commended.

Head brewer Mark Slater is collecting the prizes at the awards ceremony at London's Dorchester Hotel today. "St Peter's Brewery was one of the first breweries in the country to recognise the importance and potential of organic beers some five years ago. Now organic beers comprise 30 per cent of our production and we export them all over the world. They are not the easiest beers to brew, but the end result justifies the effort."

The brewery has already grown threefold since it started in 1996 and now produces about 1.5 million of the distinctively shaped green glass "flask" bottles a year and has just finished installing a modern bottling plant. Capacity is still increasing, and it expects to be brewing more than than 2.2 million bottles a year by January. St Peter's Organic Ale is described by the brewery as a delicate, clean, crisp, lightly carbonated, traditional English ale with a full citrus hop after-taste.It is made with water from the brewery's deep well, which is combined with Soil Association accredited light malted barley from Scotland, organic Hallertau hops from New Zealand and yeast from St Peter's Brewery. The Organic Best Bitter is described as a unique, full-bodied, organic best bitter, with a refreshing after-taste.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Bibendum goes International Checking through the referrals lists to see who's actually reading Bibendum, I see that someone is reading it via Google's automatic translator so that the pages get translated into German for them. It's not a bad service, given that auto-translation ocasionally comes up with some interesting word choices, but it's obviously close enough to keep them coming back. Now I don't speak German, so I took one of the translated pages and ran it back through the translator again.... I hope that Bibendum's musings make a little more sense in their first incarnation however, because what came back was an even more inane string of gibberish than I originally wrote.

The article which started life as the top item here ended up saying:
The world bowl, which announces beer of the profit customer freely for living football fan Peter guest, had the agreement with its local landlord for receiving its marking sign with the name of the publication on it - which was waived bull hotel with Hardway close Brewham in Sued Somerset - on the television set during the world Cup. His, flag through TVKAMERAS as Michael the Owen, which was counted in the profit 3-0 of England against Denmark