Shortly after explaining that I live in a scruffy terraced house – there are precious few ivory towers in Hackney – I enjoy telling these people about my experience staffing the Crafted stand at the Carlsberg UK trade shows last year.
I tell them about the couple who run the bar in a working men’s club in Essex who had been persuaded by their sales rep to try Grimbergen, mainly on account of its distinctive glassware, had seen it fly off the bar, and had come back to find out what else we had like it. I tell them about the blokes from a small pub in a village in the Welsh valleys who tasted about ten beers from the Crafted range, getting more excited with each one, and started planning a new food menu around them. I tell them about the pub landlady from Coventry who came along with her stony-faced mother, who grimaced at the hoppy beers and then finally melted into a delighted grin when she tasted Anchor Porter paired with a piece of dark chocolate.
And, yes, I might mention the only vaguely hipsterish people we saw across five trade shows: a smart young couple who run a café in Bradford that boasts an impressive array of craft beers, who were surprised to find we had a couple even they hadn’t seen before.
Our stand was busy all day every day, with people who run all kinds of pubs and bars, all wanting to stock craft beers. I had a ridiculously good time talking to them all, and I’m looking forward to doing so again this autumn.
I’m hoping to meet more people who are looking at craft beer for the first time, and welcoming them to the beers that changed my life about ten years ago, and are now increasingly entering the mainstream. Many of them still remain among my favourites and are always stocked in my cellar.
And if we should meet old friends from last year, I’m looking forward to hearing how the craft beers are going down, and welcoming them to the expanded range, to some flavours that are a little more assertive, and brands that are newer and younger. There’s no London Murky there yet, and nothing that costs £6 a pint, but you know what? I’m just fine with that, and I’m sure you’ll be too.
This post has been written by guest blogger – Pete Brown, and first appeared in Carlsberg UK’s September edition of it’s ‘Deals’ brochure which is distributed to 6,500 free-trade customers accross the UK.