Thursday’s ad is a second one for Wells Bombardier, from 2009. So this one’s not exactly old, but as I love heraldry, it has a retro feel to it. It’s the second of three ads that Kindred did for Wells & Young in an attempt to link the Bombardier beer with English pride and nationalism. I love the detail in the faux coat of arms. Everywhere you look, there are symbols of England, or at least things that might remind one of Great Britain.
Wednesday’s ad is for Wells Bombardier, from 2009. So this one’s not exactly old, but as I love heraldry, it has a retro feel to it. It’s the first of three ads that Kindred did for Wells & Young in an attempt to link the Bombardier beer with English pride and nationalism. I love the detail in the faux coat of arms. Everywhere you look, there are symbols of England, or at least things that might remind one of Great Britain.
Today is the 35th birthday of Jeff Bell, whose alter ego was, until a few years ago, Stonch, one of England’s best bloggers. He retired from blogging to concentrate on his new job as landlord of a London pub, The Gunmakers, in Clerkenwell, a village in the heart of London. I stopped by to meet Jeff on my way back from a trip to Burton-on-Trent a few years ago. And four years back, I saw Jeff several times during GBBF week. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.
Jeff Bell, a.k.a. Stonch, at The Gunmakers Pub in central London.
Tuesday’s ad is another one for the English beer Double Diamond Burton Pale Ale, also from 1954. Part of a series called “Inn-Sign Rhymes,” this one shows the iconic Double Diamond dude toasting a sign for “The George & Dragon” pub. Below the illustration is the rhyme of the series and the tagline “A Double Diamond works wonders.”
Monday’s ad is for the English beer Double Diamond Burton Pale Ale, from 1954. Part of a series called “Inn-Sign Rhymes,” this one shows the iconic Double Diamond dude toasting a sign for “The Robin Hood” pub. Below the illustration is the rhyme of the series and the tagline “A Double Diamond works wonders.”
Given that craft beer on this side of the pond has seen double-digit growth almost every year for over ten years, the news that sales of beer in Great Britain has shown positive growth in two consecutive quarters may not not seem like something that’s newsworthy. But this is the first time it’s happened in more than ten years, as pub closures and other factors have had troubling consequences for British beer. The latest figures, released by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), show total beer sales up 0.8% in the 4th quarter of 2013, with off-trade (primarily retail) up 3.9%, although pub sales were down 2.2%.
The Morning Advertiser article also mentions the announcement concurrently that Marston’s will build a new £7 million bottling plant, which the BBPA believes translates to increased confidence on the part of British brewers. The credit for all this good news is thought to be the decision by the UK government’s Chancellor to “cut [the] Beer Duty in last year’s Budget,” meaning lower taxes on breweries. According to the BBPA’s Chief Executive, Brigid Simmonds. “These figures demonstrate that cutting beer duty helps increase beer sales, stimulates industry investment and saves jobs. We hope the Chancellor takes note and freezes beer duty in his next Budget to give a further boost to British beer and pubs.”
This is important on our side of the world because there are currently two bills before Congress with the same goal, to lower the excise tax of beer to stimulate our economy and create jobs in the brewing industry and related support industries here, too. That it appears to have worked in Great Britain is a promising development that may make it more attractive to legislators in justifying the tax cut.
Thursday’s ad is for Cottage Brewing’s Norman’s Conquest Extra Strong Ale. It’s not really an ad, but how many times will I have #1066 to play around with? Exactly. I had this beer at the first CAMRA festival I attended, at Peterborough, in the mid-1990s.
The artwork resembles the tapestries so popular when William the Conquerer, a Norman, invaded England and conquered the Britons at the Battle of Hastings, one of the decisive battles in the Norman Conquest.
Today’s infographic is an odd one, entitled The Man With the Golden Liver. It’s a serious (as far as I can tell) review of the fourteen James Bond books written by Ian Fleming, examining how much alcohol the fictional character James Bond drank. The result of their work (reading novels, mostly) was published in BMJ, the British Medical Journal, under the title Were James Bond’s drinks shaken because of alcohol induced tremor? Here’s what they found:
Results After exclusion of days when Bond was unable to drink, his weekly alcohol consumption was 92 units a week, over four times the recommended amount. His maximum daily consumption was 49.8 units. He had only 12.5 alcohol free days out of 87.5 days on which he was able to drink.
Conclusions James Bond’s level of alcohol intake puts him at high risk of multiple alcohol related diseases and an early death. The level of functioning as displayed in the books is inconsistent with the physical, mental, and indeed sexual functioning expected from someone drinking this much alcohol. We advise an immediate referral for further assessment and treatment, a reduction in alcohol consumption to safe levels, and suspect that the famous catchphrase “shaken, not stirred” could be because of alcohol induced tremor affecting his hands.
So they undertook the examination of the drinking habits of a fictional character and concluded he was a high risk drinker, worrying what consequences might befall him. I’d laugh my head off if the goal didn’t appear to be to warn others not to follow his example and drink too much. Has their been a problem with copycats pretending to be British superspies and binge drinking in the process? And that’s been since 1953, when the first book was published. So it’s been sixty years. You think we’d have seen this epidemic by now. If anything, based on the fact that no one reads books anymore, this has to be a waning problem, if indeed it as ever one to begin with.
To be fair, a number of years ago I did something similar, looking through the Fleming novels for instances when 007 drank beer, which I detailed in a post called James Bond’s Beer. But my goal was entertainment, not science, and I had no aspirations to warm people about unhealthy behavior in a character who wasn’t real. The “scientists” who undertook this “study” even have the cojones to say that “the author Ian Fleming died aged 56 of heart disease after a life notable for alcohol and tobacco excess,” suggesting a connection between the author and his fictional creation. Fleming himself always said that he’d based 007 on a Serbian field agent, Dušan Popov, although there are plenty of other contenders.
Another ridiculous caution is their finding that based on their analysis of Bond’s consumption he would have frequently drove a car with a BAC of 0.08 or above, which they note is above the legal limit in the UK. Except that the last Bond work that Fleming wrote was published in 1966. That’s one full year before the UK passed the Road Safety Act, imposing a BAC percentage. So if we’re continuing this absurd line of reasoning, it doesn’t even work by their own standards. At any rate, it’s an interesting infographic, I could just do without the proselytizing.
Today is the 29th birthday of Mark Dredge, who writes the beer blog Pencil and Spoon from his home in Kent, England. I’ve had the pleasure of drinking with Mark on his last three trips across the pond. The first time, at the opening gala for SF Beer Week, three years ago at the Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder, Colorado, and last year judging at GABF. By day, he works in digital marketing and social media and by night, he’s “a beer writer and blogger.” In December 2009, he won the British Guild of Beer Writers New Media Writer of the Year for Pencil and Spoon. If you don’t read his stuff, you should. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.
Note: The last two photos were purloined from Facebook.