Initially, foremost in my mind were concerns, such as, would the RateBeer information be available? And would any breweries have bothered archiving their brewing records? Would archived versions of brewery websites be accessible? (I assume that the British Newspaper Archive will continue to exist in some form.) Then I couldn't help starting to think about the details of exactly how I'd do it.
1971 to 2021 is far too long a period.It would need to be split into two books. The first kicking off with the foundation of CAMRA. Where to end it, though. What's a meaningful, break point?
I pondered that for a couple of days. It was obvious, really. When the Big Six crumbled into dust. 2000 - 2001. Which followed on logically from my decision to call the book "Cask!". And the one after "Evil Keg!".
Digging an ever larger pit for myself, I wondered how much material I already have. For 1971 to 1980, a reasonable amount. Some brewing records. Not enough, but some, at least. Whitbread Luton records must have survived. They'd be interesting to look at. I'd need a shitload of others as well. Thousands of hours of work.
For the whole period I've OGs or ABVs from the Good Beer Guide. Usually only one of the other. Making them much less useful than Whitbread Gravity Book entries. Better than nothing.Big problem: only cask beers. I've far less information on keg and bottled beers. Not sure where I could find that. A bit of scanning and OCR work. Nothing too crazy. A couple of hundred hours, maybe.
I've statistics galore, courtesy of the BBPA Statistical Handbook. Beer production, % sales by style, number of breweries, number of pubs, imports, exports. Everything I could possible need. Maybe more numbers on tied estates. Very little to do. I could use the Good Beer Guide scans to harvest tied house numbers, which were often included in brewery entries.
Far too much for me to even contemplate taking on anytime soon. I haven't finished writing about the periods I have researched fully. More or less.
I already have my next few books planned out. Should I ever manage to finish "Blitzkrieg!".
First is "Free!" covering the Golden Age of UK brewing - 1880 - 1914.
Moving back in time to 1830 - 1880. I can't remember if I thought of a title for that one. "Beerhouse!", perhaps.
Finishing at 1780 - 1830. About as far as I dare go back, cowardly time-traveller that I am. Plenty of time to think about what I'll call that, given how long it's likely to take me to complete the other two.
I'm hoping "Free!" won't take anything like as long as "Blitzkrieg!". Despite covering a far longer period, much less was going on. Wishful thinking, probably.