Back in the far, heady days of March 2019 I wrote a piece about the investment in Magic Rock / the entry of Magic Rock into Tesco and how independence, idealism and integrity aren't enough to keep a brewery afloat. It is still as of today the most-read screed on this blog.
I didn't note it at the time, but it seems more folk were up in arms about Magic Rock becoming available in the hated behemoth of Tesco than they were about the fact that the new sugar daddies had some very dubious connections in Myanmar. I was personal witness to one patron turning down the Cannonball Run in the late lamented Bubs at the time, so disgusted was he that a beer could possibly be made available in a mainstream outlet.
Then, last summer, I wrote a little piece about how best to deal with beer brands that may be troublesome for a whole host of reasons.
As well as trying to boost my back catalogue's numbers, this all provides some context for today's somewhat surprising but at the same time not surprising news. As reported in the Grocer, Magic Rock and FourPure's owner, Lion World Beverages, are seeking to sell the brands.
Coming hot on the heels of the news of London Fields' sale by Carlsberg Marston's, it seems to indicate that a pub tie - such as Brixton has through Heineken - is a vital part of ensuring a craft brand's post-acquisition survival. Carlsberg Marston's already has a huge traditional cask estate as well as Brooklyn to fill its pumps. There's just not enough room, especially at the moment, for anything else.
This is illustrated by the naked fact that in a calendar/financial year in which British pubs were closed for up to four months and when apparently drinking was way up , FourPure couldn't capitalise. As the Grocer reports, "sales of Fourpure’s biggest seller, Hemisphere Session IPA, fell from £1.7m to £960k over the 52 weeks to 11 Sep 21 – a 43% drop, on volumes down 48.3%."
Ok, we swear we're not just being silly here.— Drygate Brewing Co (@drygate) April 30, 2021
If any other breweries want to get together for a collab, and release *Electric* Disco Forklift Truck, we're game and open to discussion on what the concept could be. Let us know if you're interested - the more the merrier! pic.twitter.com/bgEfQBANkW