Thursday 14 February 2013

Azimuth - as drunk by The Prime Minister

That's him, The Prime Minister, drinking Azimuth
Of course, everyone in the beer industry is somewhat irate at our Government right now. The beer duty escalator is a way of the beer duty being unreasonably increased without having to announce it in the budget. A stealth tax. The two most important charters in this piece are Jamie Reed, who is Labour, and  David Cameron, who is the Tory Prime Minister, in case you didn't know. To be honest, if it comes to politics, I sometimes want to bang heads together. They're all as bad as each other with their political party nonsense.

Still, when Mr Reed, bless him, invited us to attend The Palace of Westminster, I was reservedly pleased. Reservedly, as in I was unsure what the commercial advantage was of spending a few hundred pounds on yet another trip to London. It's PR I told myself, probably get me in the paper, again.

So, on Tuesday night we found ourselves on Whitehall saying hello to the plebs nice policemen with semi-automatic Maglight holders1 at the end of Downing Street. We hadn't deliberately gone to see Mr Cameron early, but we had a long day travelling to London, doing deliveries and picking up empties on the way, dropping the van off at a friends pub before hopping on the underground into town. We got there very late, checking into the hotel, ran off to Chinatown to scoff late night stir fry. By the time we had eaten, the tube had stopped, so as the hotel was on the Thames the route took us down Whitehall right through the heart of our UK democratic power. To be honest, I'm surprised the police on Westminster's gates didn't arrest us for peaking through to try and see where we had to go the next day.

David Cameron meets Hardknott
Due to the early morning walk and subsequent late start in the morning we were one of the last to pitch up to our half table in the all too small Jubilee room. It wasn't easy to get ourselves organised and so irritations were starting. Discovering that the whole case of Rhetoric II had been put into the goodie bags for MPs added to the frustration. This underpinned a feeling that perhaps the trip might be a bit wasted, after all, what commercial benefit was there to giving away beer to politicians? Beer we would still have to pay duty on. paying members of the Government to drink our beer.

Anyway, soon things got going. Rallying speeches from the likes of Eric Robson and Doug Scott about how wonderful Cumbria is, helped buck me up. Soon the MPs of Cumbria were walking around, chatting and we got into full flow talking about beer and hops and all the wonderful flavours in good craft beer.

I did get several digs in at various people about beer duty. Pubs were discussed. All the MPs and their researchers, assistants and whatever hangers-on there were, seemed to be understanding and assured us that it should change. It does make me wonder why it doesn't when so many MPs are sure it should.

Soon there was a hubbub. Stand by your tables the Prime Minister is on the way.2

I poured a glass of Azimuth as he approached and he happily took a good taste.

"What have we got here?"

"Azimuth, it's an Indian Pale Ale"

"What makes it so sharp?"

If you look, you can see the Azimuth bottle on the left hand side.
I do wish people would stop saying that when they taste hoppy beer. Having had a flustered start to the day I didn't manage to have the presence to explain all the flavour descriptors of peach, apricot and honeysuckle that I find in the beer. I just blurted something about New World hops I expect.

After that I continued to serve and explain about beer to other hangers-on while Mr Cameron continued to walk the room. I did feel slightly shaky, although I noted later, far less excited about the whole experience than I have felt about far less important events in my life. I mean, it isn't every day you get to serve a beer to the Prime Minister that has been made in the brewery you own. OK, I know he's a Tory3, but we all have our faults.

Anyway, the ensuing press coverage has certainly pleased me. Our friends at the North West Evening Mail, in particular the Business Correspondent Will Metcalfe, got us good coverage in the paper out today. Also a good bit on the local ITV news where The Main Man is seen drinking aforementioned beer.

Not a bad day out I'd say.


1Why anyone would want to call a man holding an assault rifle a pleb is anyone's guess. Oh, and I'm no expert on guns, so don't flame me for using the wrong terminology here.

2I found it interesting that the Tory MP Rory Stewart had to be the one in PMQT that asked if David would visit the Cumbria Day. I expect it would not be seen as the right thing for him to agree if an opposition MP had asked the same thing.

3I've always wanted snobs to drink my beer. You can't get a bigger snob than a Tory4

4Yup, your right, Labour deserve just as much of a slagging, after all, they brought in the duty escalator in the first place, and besides, Jamie is my MP, and he's OK, despite being Labour.


The Beer Nut said...

If it's just about the coverage, I'd have responded to the hops question with "Piss off you bum-faced twat", loudly.

But well done anyway.

Anonymous said...

Dave - well done. Regardless of how the day went, you represented your region and got him to try a beer. The fact that he asked a question is actually ok - means he is considering what he's tasting! Well done.

Cooking Lager said...

next stop, the Queen.

StringersBeer said...

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who didn't vote for us on the online poll that our MP ran, so that we weren't put in the alkward position of having to be polite to that Cameron chap. I'm pretty sure this would have been beyond us. Well done Dave.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

He might have favored something like a splash of Colonial Mayhem.