Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Fruit beer and journo hype

I've just read an article about a supposed "surge" in the drinking of fruit beer in Britain.

The opening sentence claims that "The traditional pint is being given a run for its money by continental-style fruit and spirit-flavoured beers, enjoyed by consumers as a thirst-quenching summer drink or to inspire imaginative pairing with food."

By "the traditional pint", I assume she means cask beer. Is it really "being given a run for its money" or is this just another example of journalistic hype? Perhaps tellingly, there are no figures given for the actual volumes of fruit beer being drunk but it's surely nowhere near the approximately two and a half million barrels (more than seven hundred million pints) of cask beer consumed annually. In fact, apart from the bottled Belgian fruit beers in their attractive paper wrapping you see in supermarkets and a couple of specialist beer bars that have them on draught, you could go to a lot of pubs and never see one.

Like "craft keg", fruit beer is a niche product that appeals mostly to beer bloggers, journalists and writers rather than the everyday drinker. I suspect that the journalist who wrote this piece is basing her claims on what her friends are drinking in some trendy North London pub or on a corporate press release.


  1. Journalists thrive on hyperbole, and the laziest way to do that is by making silly comparisons, as here. I recall listening to Radio 4's Loose Ends, when the presenter introduced Eddi Reader by saying she had become a breath of fresh air in the stuffy old world of traditional folk song where everyone sticks their fingers in their ears, etc, etc. I e-mailed the programme, pointing out that the intro was simply stereotyping and when I got no reply, made a formal complaint to the BBC and received an apology.

    The stupid aspect of the whole story is that, after that silly introduction, Eddi Reader said, "Actually, I'm doing a traditional song."

  2. Oh, that boring old traditional music. Oh, those boring introspective singer-songwriters. Oh, that boring brown bitter... Once you've heard that line a few times it really grates.