It all started a week ago when Neil Bowness tweeted2 that it was strange that Saturday Kitchen regularly plugs imported wines that can be bought in major supermarkets but regularly fails to mention British Beer. A mutual twitter friend, Vickie Hunter, asked if there was anyone we could complain to. This set me thinking that there probably was. To me, the obvious snub given to the beverage that is indigenous to Britain, seems to be broadcasting bias, so I complained to OfCom.
I also decided to write a press release, which was helpfully edited and distributed by Tim Hampson, the chairman of the Guild of Beer Writers. This generated some further publicity on local radio and papers as well as a sniff from the Independent, although for the latter I expect it will get no further than their blog.
This morning we flooded the Saturday Kitchen hashtag with beer matches and various other beer and food related comments. Although difficult to measure as all the previous records for Saturday Kitchen tweets seem too unimportant for the search tools to find, we can be sure we made a difference. We created over 1500 tweets and I am certain that the production team now know we are here.
There is a Facebook page now dedicated to the cause of raising the profile of good beer in the media, please like it and contribute with comments, or links to blog posts etc. I'm hoping this will not be the end of the matter. It's called Libeeration, which I'm told is a play on words. Libation is the act of partaking in alcoholic beverages, beer is an alcoholic beverage and liberation is the act of freeing from previous constraints. It wasn't my idea, it was the brainchild of The Director of vituperation, @AKA_Franklin.
However, I am concerned that this will just be a flash in the pan. Hopefully we'll do the same next Saturday, but I expect the novelty will wear off and it would take a significantly greater event to get us noticed enough to change the way major media people think about beer. I expect it is going to take a real life publicity stunt. Beer and food picnic outside the studio anyone?
Meanwhile I've been accused of this being a publicity stunt for Hardknott. I would hope that my readers are clever enough to feel that their intelligence is being called into question if I tried to deny that this is part of my motive. However, I hope that this shows our whole publicity ethos is one of playing to the all-inclusive nature of beer. Yes, we will occasionally have a pop at things that are in conflict with what we do, and that includes other sectors of the beer market on occasions, but we do firmly buy into the concept that we must all consider what is good for beer in the long run.
Other perceptions on the morning's events have been chronicled by Beer Beauty, Pub Champion and Thatchers Arms.
1The series producer is quite obviously ignoring us on twitter. Several of us have tweeted directly at him. Mind you, I also know that abuse is thrown at the program because a few people don't like some of the presenters. I'm guessing that success is often accompanied by abuse and it might be worth remembering that what we did today could be cited as abuse.
2I'm slightly miffed that searches have failed to find the original tweets.