As our Beautiful British Beer Scene reels from the shock news of the closure of Beer Ritz in Leeds (and my best wishes to Zak, Ghostie and the team), even more sad news reaches the Boggle Newsdesk.
Nichols Ltd, manufacturers of Panda Drinks, recently discontinued their Panda Pops fizzy drinks, saying that having a sugary carbonated drink in their portfolio was contaminating the rest of the Panda brand. As the informed reader and recent visitors to Cooking Lager's blog will know, the Panda Pop bottle has been beloved of the Beautiful British Ticker as a means to collect field samples for later testing when located in a source-rich environment.
I assume it will take some time for this to filter through to our Beautiful British Ticking Community, as I believe they carefully clean and re-use bottles (I imagine they also keep the market for Milton baby bottle sterilising fluid quite buoyant). However, before they go on a panic buying spree to scoop up the last remaining stocks of Panda Pops, they don't need to be too alarmed - Nichols still have Panda Still Juice Drink and Panda Still Flavoured Water available. The names don't roll off the tongue as easily though... I salute the demise of an iconic brand.
In other news (not sure if this is sad or not), Delaware USA brewer Dogfish Head have announced they won't be exporting beer to the UK or Canada this year, citing increased demand in home markets. They are also withdrawing from distribution to four US states. The company and head man Sam Calagione have built a reputation for brewing off-the-wall beers, including resurrecting recipes allegedly 3,000 years old. DFH was recently featured on US Discovery show "Brewmasters", which will have increased awareness of the brand amongst non-geeks, and presumably has contributed to their growth.