Yes, I know my posts on the site are slow. That’s what you get spending too much time in a rural brewhouse. Let’s face it, we only got electricity in Somerset a few years ago (and not much of that where we are!), so good communications infrastructure is a lot to ask for. If you want more regular updates follow us on Twitter – @drinkmoorbeer. I thought I would give an update on our unfined campaign (or should I say YOUR unfined campaign) as many people have asked and are keenly interested.
The cloudy beer motion we submitted at the SIBA AGM had three aims: 1) recognition that not all beer has to be clear; 2) update competitions accordingly; 3) market and educate accordingly. A pragmatic amendment to our motion was entered at the last minute, keeping point 1 and remitting points 2 and 3 to a committee (run by Eddie Gadd and me) to work with the national executive to help set policy.
I had to condense my impassioned speech quite a lot at the AGM, but must have gotten the message across. I was followed by fellow supporters, and much to my amazement, there was not a single speaker against the motion. A vote was taken and the amended motion was passed unanimously! Many brewers approached me for the rest of the day and evening to express their pleasure at the motion passing, and sharing their experiences. I firmly believe that there is no rational argument against cloudy / unfined beer, just lingering prejudice which is starting to diminish already. I am thrilled that fellow brewers to a large extent agree.
So where did that leave us? March being budget month turned SIBA’s gaze (rightfully) to making a rally against the beer duty escalator, and April was spent collaborating with other organisations such as CAMRA to generate more support for the ePetition against the insane tax rises. If you haven’t signed it yet you can here. How is it that people can rally for pasties, caravans, and cider, and successfully alter government plans, while the millions of beer and pub industry workers and consumers don’t seem bothered? Raise your voices and let’s get some positive action happening!!! Rant over – back to cloudy beer.
Another thing happened in April – the first SIBA beer competition of the year at Tucker’s Maltings (where we won a Gold & a Bronze!). Any changes to SIBA competitions is going to have to go through a series of machinations over the course of the year, and take effect from the 2013 season. So I was very pleasantly surprised when the SIBA Chief Executive laid out the rules to the judges, told them about the motion and upcoming changes, and gave them the option to vote as they liked with regards to clarity. This was met with some applause and cheers from the judges, and a bit of muttering from some as well. Again, many people came up to me after the competition to voice their support. I did also see a judge with a thermometer in his glass and a torch next to it – finally someone more anal than me, albeit a bit misdirected IMHO!
Work on the competition rules and marketing & education plans is ongoing. In the interim, more brewers are starting to sell unfined beer, and we are selling more of it. If you’ve tried it before, great – keep drinking it. If you’ve not tried it before I’d encourage you to seek some out, and also to approach it with an open mind. From recollection every award we’ve won in the last year has been for unfined beer – whether they knew it or not! And every side-by-side trial that’s been done either by us or other breweries has put unfined on top. Surely there must be something to it. More hazy thoughts in my next post.