The first delivery was mostly right, just one case of Nanny State instead of Hardcore IPA. Easy mistake to make, there isn't that much difference between the two.... is there? We managed to get the Hardcore delivered later and progressed to sell the Nanny State in addition to the forward orders we had already taken. Mostly the bottled stuff went out in mixed taster cases, a good way to introduce new pubs to the concept and see what sells.
Early results showed that Punk IPA and 5am Saint goes quite well in bottles. Probably not surprisingly the higher ABV beers sell slower. The shock was that Nanny State started to fly out from a couple of places, so much so that we got orders for whole cases. "My customers can't believe a 0.5%2 beer can taste this good." said one publican.
The UK beer geek scene completely slated Nanny State when BrewDog released it. We didn't like it and I was just as vocal as everyone else about how it just tasted of "hop tea" and completely unbalanced. I seem to remember even Mark Dredge, who normally can't say anything against BrewDog gave it a big thumbs down.
Recently Jeff Pickthall popped in to one of the pubs we had supplied and drank a bottle3. He'd guessed we had supplied it and commented to me about how pleased he was to have found the beer. Unfortunately I have been unable to try this latest incarnation as it's always sold out when we socially visit the pubs we've supplied.
So, better put an order in for some more, quick like. 6 cases of that on top of all the other beer. A mix of cask and bottles will do nicely, please.
The reply came back from Fraserburgh, in that lovely Scottish accent;
BrewDog "No, you can't have any more the now"
BrewDog "I mean, erm, most of the order is OK but we messed up properly last time and you shouldn't have got the case of Nanny State you did get, you can't have any more, sorry"
Hardknott "Why's that then?"
BrewDog "We don't sell it in this country because Mark Dredge4 said it was crap and so no one buys it."
Hardknott "So how come we got the last case?"
BrewDog "It was a mistake, that's what you get when you employ penguins as casual labour -Although they were distracted by the fear of being chased around by Bracken, so you can't completely blame the penguins.......... "
Hardknott "Ok, ok, enough about penguins.... so, if you can't sell it how come you had some, and why can't we have some more?"
BrewDog "It was part of a consignment that was being shipped to Sweden, it's the only place we can shift the stuff after Dredgy had a pop at it. In fact we sell loads of it out there....... It's all gone there we're afraid....... "
So, there you have it. The beer geeks don't like Nanny State because we don't drink beer with almost no alcohol in it. It turns out that normal people5 really like it. We have customers who want to buy more of Nanny State than they want to buy Punk IPA or 5am Saint. It's probably because, which ever way you look at it, Nanny State is much better than Cobra Zero6.
Perhaps us beer geeks are a little detached from reality. So please James, we'd like some more, go on, give Nanny State another chance in the UK.
Update: Apparently James is in Tokyo and can't comment on the issue. However, Tom Cadden, who is BrewDog's London sales rep tells me that Nanny State has had it's IBU rating7 dropped from a whopping 225 down to 45.
1OK, so "tiny" is perhaps exaggerating; "infinitesimally minuscule" might be better.
2I thought Nanny State was 1.2%, but I suspect this is a alcohol duty thing that differs from state to sovereign state.
3He was showing Pete Brown the delights of Cumbria. I have this image of them trying to scale Scafell Pike or water skiing on Ullswater....
4Yeah, OK, I'm making this conversation up, .... but.
5which by inference places Jeff Pickthall in the normal bracket - I really didn't intend this to turn into a work of fiction loosely based on fact.
6Why do I have to put in my DoB when I am looking at a web page for a non-alcoholic beer?
7IBU = International Bitterness Units. It is generally accepted that over 100 is going to strip the lining from your stomach. A standard UK bitter might be 30-50 IBU. However, as the ABV of a beer drops so the IBU should to balance it out. It's not so much the actual ABV as the residual unfermentable sugars which are in proportion to the original fermentable sugars. Have I lost you yet?
Anyway, 225 IBU in a beer with nearly no alcohol is just crazy. A beer with 225 IBU and 10% would be very flavoursome. 45 sounds much better for a low ABV beer.
Now, please can we try some?