Saturday 29 May 2010

These Two Belgians Walk Into A Pub...

The pub in question being The Harp in Chandos Place. I'm propping the bar up, supping a pint or several of Dark Star APA. The place is emptying of a load of Millwall heading to Wembley for their annual promotion disappointment ritual, when this elderly and distinguished-looking geezer pitches up and asks for a pint and a half of beer.

As he orders, he gestures towards my half-empty glass. The barman asks if he would like a pint and a half of APA. The man appears not to comprehend, pointing again at my glass and saying (and I quote), "I'd like a pint and a half of beer, as such...".

Karl The Barman is puzzled, asks if he prefers dark or light beer (which draws no response), but drops a taster into a glass for Our Belgian Friend. As he sips, his wife arrives at the bar. She takes charge, sipping the nectar (APA is delicious) but then leaning over the bar to inform Karl thus:

"We are Belgian. Do you have any Stella?"

That whole country loses its place in the Top Three for this... To paraphrase Bob Hoskins in The Long Good Friday... "Belgium? I shit 'em!"

Sunday 16 May 2010

World Cup Beer Shenanigans

ITV will be broadcasting a beer-themed road trip ahead of this year's World Cup, featuring professional "bloke" Neil Morrissey and his brewing mate, "celebrity chef" Richard Fox attempting to truck beers from "their own brewery", and from other British microbrewers, down Africa from Dar Es Salaam to the fans in South Africa.

Broadcast date is Thursday 27 May at 10:00 pm on ITV 4

Thursday 6 May 2010

Stone Brewery Europe: You Want Some?

US craft brewer Stone Brewing of Escondido CA have taken the next steps towards establishing a European operation, by issuing a glossy 'Request For Proposal' document. The prospectus provides an insight into the brewing; distribution and retail-facing operations; corporate ethos pertaining to sustainability and environmental responsibility, and 'good neighbour' arrangements.

It doesn't say anything about how much beer Stone presently ships to Europe, but it's clearer now they want to in some way replicate their Escondido HQ, which probably means they intend to brew at least their core range of beers in Europe, so they can be sampled fresh and without accruing significant beer miles. I wonder if they would be using locally-sourced ingredients, or whether they'd have to import from the US.

Interested parties have some 2 months to submit completed questionnaires. If all goes well, the brewer expects to have identified a site by October this year.

The more I think about it, the more bold and ambitious it sounds. After all, the idea of a US brewer setting up in foreign markets usually means a new BMC factory somewhere. Stone have a niche following amongst spoogebeerians, so will have to build a volume market more or less from scratch. If they stay true to their philosophy, they'll aim to do that without advertising spend and discounting, selling between 15,000 and 30,000 UK bbl a year from a new plant about the size of the new Dark Star premises in Partridge Green.

I hope it gets off the ground.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Orwell's Sheep

Synchronicity, eh? There's Roger Protz over at Pete Brown's blog, defending CAMRA members against a charge of boorishness, and in his defence, recalling the monstering he took at the hands of the BrewDog BrewPuppies when he criticised the brewer some months back.

Over at BrewDog, James Watt (below, left) posts some footage of a business-themed reality show he took part in last year, and won. I guess the lads must have been between shenanigans. Anyway, with Pavlovian reliability, the Puppies sprang to the job of reminding readers that, like the sheep in Animal Farm, "BrewDog goo-oo-ood, everything else baa-aa-ad!". In this case, James's female partner on the show is the target for their bile. On the BD blog, insults like "stupid cow" and "bint" are offered, one poster mused on how filled with hate he was by her while another wondered how James hadn't killed her. The best is to be found on their Facebook page, where somebody called Andrew posted that he wanted to see an episode where James broke a bottle over her head.

I've met James Watt. He struck me as a thoughtful bloke. Certainly not somebody who would resort to violence or abuse in the face of TV-engineered provocation. Why these dolts would want to see him lose it and attack a woman is beyond me, but then I've wondered how many of them are supposed to be on the big people's interwebs. Emotionally, they're all juveniles.

Sunday 2 May 2010

implicationsforpunks: News From BrewDog

Following my previous post, I dropped an email to both BrewDog and The Griffin Group, to ask for some clarity on the situation re: equityforpunks shareholders and the plan to subsidiarise BrewDog USA LLC (the joint venture vehicle set up ahead of the IPO to manage the brewer's US business) into the new Anchor Brewers & Distillers LLC that has been set up to manage the new operation.

I asked the following questions:
I was curious to note that your US joint venture with Griffin, BrewDog USA LLC has been subsidiarised (they say 'affiliated', but I believe it's the same thing) to this new venture. What implications does this have for the operation of the joint venture?

What about the equityforpunks investors? You said in October 2009 that EFP investors would 'own' the new venture - I assume you meant become members of it as investors. Does this news change the landscape in terms of dividend on earnings?

Are you able to tell me in which state BrewDog USA LLC was incorporated?

Does BrewDog USA LLC pay taxes on earnings?

Is BrewDog USA LLC a so-called "flow-through entity" (FTE)?

I received a reply from "Emperor Penguin" James Watt, saying that he couldn't confirm details yet, and that an article would be published to the Equity For Punks website in due course. Since this particular stock isn't in the Boggle portfolio, I'd appreciate anybody with access keeping me posted.