Sunday 18 February 2024

Men in white coats

I'm finding that reading old issues of the Brewers' Guardian is conjouring up the mood of the 1970s even better than my music playlist. At least when it comes to the point of view if industry insiders. It's very much a technocratic view.

The writers are very gung ho about all the latest technological developments like continuous fermentation and tank beer. Which are portyaed as the future of brewing. There's rarely any mention of beer flavour. Other than claiming the new proceses had no impact on it.

And it the photos of all the gleaming stainless steel, the brewers are always wearing white coats. Like laboratory workers. It's telling of the way brewers were regarded at the time. Oh so different from today's hippy rock stars.

I've only got to June 1970. But already so much really useful material. Going through the whole decade is going to be so much fun. I'm really looking forward to the reaction to CAMRA and the Real Ale movement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the US at least around that time, there was a lot of concern about taste in beer and in the food and beverage industry over all, with a critical caveat.

It had to do overwhelmingly with a narrow set of easily quantifiable qualities. So with beer it might be keeping bitterness at a consistently low level, and with potato chips it might be keeping an even level of saltiness.

The problem was that by focusing so much on so few things, they pretty much guaranteed that other qualities would be considered defects that needed to be kept out of the product.

What started happening around 30 years ago was customers started rebelling against the blandness, and businesses realized there was a big market of people who were willing to pay a premium for more complex products which were harder to define in terms of a limited set of tastes.