You are Mutually Oblivious 2 – The Retweet

If you have been vaguely following my fledgling blog, you may have read a post back on 26th July which looked at, among other things, the usefulness of Twitter as a network for breweries of all sizes.  The ability to keep in touch with collaborators; inform your loyal customers what’s brewing and to tap into a new market of people who may not be aware of your brand.  Now that all sounds a bit dry, but I was encouraged by the response that I received from breweries and beer enthusiasts alike to my original post.  I’d like to think that there a few of the previously ‘Mutually Oblivious’ Tweeps that are now reaping the benefits of a few extra ‘Follows’.

You may also remember that I decided to look at the Twitter accounts of all the British breweries that I am Following and list those with fewer than 500 Followers.  I explained that 500 is an arbitrary number and could easily mean nothing in terms of a brewery’s market share or relative success.  However, I was surprised to see a mix of fledgling breweries mixed in with those you would expect to have a much greater following.  A month or so on from this snapshot, I have looked at the same breweries again to see how they are fairing in the ‘Followers’ stakes!

You’ll see there are a couple of breweries that have had a sizeable increase in Followers.  Having seen the recent activity on Twitter, I would say that these are the breweries that Tweet the most and have most likely increased the number of people
they Follow too.  After all, when you are trying to promote your  ‘name’, it’s expanding your own side of the network which is most important.

Loch Ness Brewery have picked up 170 new Followers; and Brass Castle Brewery and Oldershaw Brewery have picked up 143 and 141 respectively.  Tidy work guys!

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Followers 17/07/11       12/08/11         Diff
@bronteales                15                                 23                   +8          Bronte Ales
@shawsbrewery         70                                99                  +29        Shaws Brewery
@brasscastlebeer       84                               227                +143      Brass Castle Brewery
@ridgesidebrewer     126                             158                  +94       Ridgeside Brewery
@wensleydale_ale     137                            155                  +18       Wensleydale Brewery
@redchurchbrewer   145                            235                  +90      Red Church Brewery
@tobymckenzie          183                             223                 +40       Red Willow Brewery
@revolutionsbrew     188                             221                 +33      Revolutions Brewery
@wentwellbrewery    200                            255                +55      Wentwell Brewery
@orkneybrewery        200                            236                +36      The Orkney Brewery
@kentbrewery              207                            230               +23      Kent Brewery
@kirkstallbrew             219                             279                +60     Kirkstall Brewery
@stringersbeer            235                             280                +45     Stringers Beer
@quantumbc                236                             275                +39     Quantum Brewing Co.
@broughtonales         277                             302                +25     Broughton Ales Ltd
@sandstonebrewer    277                             290               +13     Sandstone Brewery
@lochnessbrewery     279                             449              +170   Loch Ness Brewery
@brentwoodbrewco   283                            312                +29     Brentwood Brewing
@durhambrewery       289                            326                +37    The Durham Brewery
@westerhambrew       296                             343               +47    Westerham Brewery
@ccookbrewery          338                             383               +45     Captain Cook Brewery
@quantockbrewery   349                             377               +28     Quantock Brewery
@mallinsons                  366                            402               +36     Mallinsons
@trianglebrewery       370                           392              +22   Golden Triangle Brewery
@bantambreweryco  381                             436              +55    Henry Kirk
@huntersbrewery      403                             438              +35    Hunters Brewery
@wharfebank                420                            468               +48   Wharfe Bank Brewery
@oldbrew                       455                             596              +141   Oldershaw Brewery
@conistonbrewco       467                            530              +63   Coniston Brewing Co.
@lymestonebrewer    472                            500              +28   Ian Bradford
@merlinbrewingco     478                            526               +48   Merlin Brewing Co.

Also, here are some additions to the list of breweries I’m Following which might interest you too.  A few new London breweries starting up which is good to see!

@chiltern_brewer                  51             The Chiltern Brewery
@hackneybrewery                115            Hackney Brewery
@croptonbrewery                 136           Cropton Brewery
@eastlondonbrew                  139            East London Brewery / Steve Lascelles
@hewittsbrewery                  152            Hewitt’s Brewery
@allendaleale                          222            Allendale Brewery
@ldnfldsbrewery                   416            London Fields Brewery

So, read into these increases in readership as you see fit, but whatever we do as a community of brewers, bloggers and drinkers, I think it is mutually beneficial to recipricate a new Follow and help promote our beloved beer!

Thanks for reading.

Buxton Beauties

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Craft beer brewed in Buxton, in the Derbyshire Peak District
It’s always a little awkward when you find yourself waxing lyrical about a particular beer.  I’ve noticed that some people view this kind of feedback with suspicion, or at worst with an air of contempt that there may be an ulterior motive.  But having considered the fall-out from such declarations, I have decided that the only thing one can do is to proudly stick a hand-in-the-air and shout it out loud!A couple of months ago I was made aware of the Buxton Brewery.  Now, it’s no longer a secret that these guys are turning out some fantastic beers and they have received some well deserved applause from many.   But once in a while there is a beer, or in this case a brewery, which makes me pay a little more attention.  It’s not the marketing as I’m yet to see anything other than what I see on Twitter, and it’s not that the bottles jumping off the shelf, as with the greatest respect the labeling is standard and tells you what you need to know with no unnecessary frilly-bits.  The reason I mention this, is that there is a case for selecting a beer based purely on its looks and there are a few breweries that commission artists or other creative types to design their range of labels (check out Ghost Drinker’s blog on ‘Detour to Beer Art’ or Real Ale Reviews ‘Like Trousers, Like Brain!’ for an insight into the importance of label design).  Well in the case of Buxton, it appears to me that there is no emphasis on the look of the bottle and they are letting the beer and its growing reputation speak for itself.  Having said that, if you read the bottles you may well be swayed by their liberal utilisation of big American and New Zealand hops.  So it’s not the marketing; the packaging or indeed due to a personal connection with this brewery; it is the beer that maketh me doth my cap to their excellent ale and the honest brand they continue to grow.  Bravo!

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So, onto the beer.  I’ve said this before, but for anyone who hasn’t read it, I’m not a ‘beer reviewer’, I was not gifted with the tools necessary to reverse-engineer each beer I taste and inform the good people what they are missing out on.  I am an enthusiast and a beer drinker, an enthusiastic beer drinker if you will, and I either like the beer or will choose not to drink it again and move on.  However I have, and will if asked again, dabbled with reviewing beers, but in this case I won’t attempt it.  But having chewed the ear of the local bottle shop owner to stock Buxton’s beers, I felt it only proper to buy some and report back.  From the full range available I selected: Moor Top, Buxton Spa, Axe Edge, Black Rocks and Buxton Gold.  You can find reviews for Black Rocks on HopZine & The Beer Prole, so I won’t mention much other than it is a 5.5% abv Black IPA with predominantly blackcurrant, liquorice and grapefruit flavours.  The Buxton Spa is a 4.1% abv Special Pale Ale and the bottle I had was really fresh; lively and had really impressive hop aromas.  The showcasing of Citra in this beer brings a whack of citrus on the nose and juicy tropical flavours and I’m told that it’s propped up with Columbus, Amarillo and Nelson Sauvin.  In my opinion it is on a par with their Axe Edge Double IPA, but is obviously much thinner in the mouth and much less boozy.  I think Buxton Spa makes for a great session beer!
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4.1% abv Special Pale Ale

Buxton Gold is described as a Golden Ale and in comparison to the Spa has a noticeably bigger mouth-feel and its 5.2% abv is reassuringly warming.  Again, a huge hop presence, this time through Amarillo, Liberty and Nelson Sauvin.  One thing with these beers is the strength and freshness of the aroma.  I think this may be due to the fact that I have bought them so soon after they have been brewed and are quite possibly at their best?  Finally, and I would say my favourite of the bunch, is Axe Edge, a Double IPA weighing in at 6.8% abv.  I was lucky enough to try this at Mr Foleys on cask as part of last weeks International IPA Day celebrations, and it did not disappoint!

Picture It was Axe Edge that introduced me to their beer, which is probably a little unusual as I would guess that a standard bitter or pale ale would usually be the first beer you might try as a way of introduction, followed by specialty beers or stronger niche varieties like the Double IPA.  For it’s mighty 6.8% it does not wield any destructive sharp edges, it is smooth and rounded and delivers more of a pleasant bludgeoning.  In short, I love it and its complex flavours and it goes straight onto my list of ‘beers of the year’.   So, if you haven’t already tried Buxton Brewery’s offerings then I would encourage you to do so.  In my opinion they are a shining ‘broad-spectrum (400-700nm) photon emitting’ example to any budding brewers!  Follow @kempicus if you want to read what’s what in the brewery, and @BuxtonBrewery for general info and banter.  Keep up the good work guys!

If you want to read more about Buxton Beers then it is testament to them that they have also been enjoyed and blogged about by: Are You Tasting the Pith, Reluctant Scooper and The Good Stuff, and you can find links to these via Eating Isn’t Cheating.

More links to Buxton reviews Beersay, HopZine.

Meet the brewer JK – James Kemp – Beer Reviews.

Thanks for reading!