A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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Ben ("This moron") -

A bit of context to the bollocks you've written about Hardknott and Portman...

The letter from Portman was a simple notification that they'd received a complaint, and an invitation for Hardknott to respond before they considered the complaint. They in no way attempted to "crush the small and interesting."

I'm no apologist, and at no point did I give an opinion one way or the other on the Portman Group and their position within the beer trade. Right now, I have no opinion on their role - I'm not yet nearly well enough informed to provide a considered or balanced judgement on their activities.

My issue was simply that Dave's response was out of all proportion to the original letter, and was a cheap PR stunt, which he himself readily admits in his comments on the post. I like Hardknott and what they're doing, and get on well with Dave and Ann (I used to deal with them quite a bit when I worked in retail) - I was just concerned that this particular episode was going to do their brand more harm than good, and make them look a bit daft.

Writing for a regional newspaper's beer column would be pretty cool though, you think I got a shot? ;-)

Alan -

If your "issue was simply that Dave's response was out of all proportion to the original letter" and a PR stunt you are backing the wrong cause. He has every right to stand up against this kangaroo court of his competition even if he does it for the only positive purposes you could get in this situation. That is sad.

Craig -

These guys don't have anything to do with Natalie Portman, right? That would just ruin everything.

Alan -

Listen, "shadowy" can include a lot of stuff.

Ben (@CptCheerful) -

I wasn't backing any cause, and I've no problem with Dave taking issue with Portman. If he wants to take them on, I've got no problem with that at all, but not by painting a run of the mill courtesy letter regarding a customer's complaint as some kind of monolithic oppression of his brewery by the big evil multinational brewers. The complaint hadn't been made by Portman themselves. All they did was let him know a complaint had been made by a member of the public, and invited his comment on the complaint. He should have responded to the complaint in a professional manner, and then raised his issues with Portman as a seperate matter.

Thanks for removing the "moron" part by the way. ;-)

HardknottDave -


Thanks very much for taking up the cudgels, there has to be a realisation that the whole playing field for business is heavily biased towards very large corporations. This, of course, is not isolated to the beer industry.

However, I am going to stick up for Ben; he's a very fine fellow indeed and although we might not agree entirely on this issue, he knows a whole lot about excellent beer.

Ben (@CptCheerful) -

Thanks Dave, very kind of you to say. You're a jolly decent chap too.

Alan -

Well, see I am public practice lawyer and I can spot a letter laced with procedural problems when I see one. No authority. No enforcement powers. No sense of conflict of interest.

But I am fine with all the big hug Tinky Winky. I do not mean to make it personal so much as to indicate how illegitimate this process is. Freedom includes being relieved from arbitrary and conflict-ridden judgment. Such purported "industry" watchdog roles are rarely done well but they are also rarely done as poorly as the shadowy Portman Group.

If I were you, Dave, I would see advice on a harassment charges against them or maybe issuing a cease and desist letter confirming that they are interfering with your right to conduct trade.

Ben (@CptCheerful) -

I would think the IPCC would be recoiling in horror at your challenge to their status as Worst Industry Watchdog. :-P