Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Last orders?

CAMRA are looking to appoint a "endangered beer style co-ordinator" in order to ensure the survival of styles of beer it deems are at threat of disappearing, including "old ales, mild, barley wines, stouts and porters".

Leaving aside the argument as to whether some of those are even styles of beer in their own right, it seems a bit over the top to me.  Unlike the wheat ale, heather ale and herb-flavoured beers whose disappearance Martyn Cornell discusses in his superbly-researched book Amber, Gold & Black, there are no technical or legislative reasons why any of these beers might stop being produced.

Mild experienced a precipitious decline in sales in the twentieth century and it is unlikely porter will ever again be sold in the quantites it was in eightenth and nineteenth century London but the expansion in the number of cask breweries and of bottled conditioned beers means that there is probably more mild, stout and old ale being produced in those forms than at any time in the last fifty years.


  1. Absolutely no way is there more cask Mild being brewed now than at any time in the last 50 years. In the early 1960's over 40% of beer sold was Mild and the majority of that cask. What can Mild manage now? 1 or 2%?

  2. I was thinking about the total for mild, old ale and porter in both cask and bottle conditioned form. You're obviously right that there was far more cask mild brewed fifty years ago.

  3. You live in (or around) Manchester, don't you? Fancy meeting up for a pint when I'm over in two weeks time?

  4. Yes, I do and I do. I sent you an email the other day suggesting a pint (and some pubs in Manchester that you might like).