You are Mutually Oblivious 4

Pass it on

It’s roughly a month since I last posted my ‘Mutually Oblivious’ update and may make this the last one in this format.  Or maybe not, undecided as I write.  For anyone who hasn’t read one of these updates before they are basically a summary of British breweries large and small who I have recently become aware of on Twitter.  See also You are Mutually Oblivious, You are Mutually Oblivious 2 and You are Mutually Oblivious III.  So, if you are interested in adding a few more breweries to your network then please read on.

Through my brilliant deduction and ability to state the bleeding obvious, it is my opinion that the ever increasing number of breweries is being driven by beer drinkers wanting to try new beers and generally support brewers who innovate and gift us with thought provoking creations.  As well as gorging on these specialty beers, there is no doubt that we all still enjoy the staple beers in our diet and like me you should try to get your Five a Day.

On to the additions to my ‘Mutually Oblivious’ Twitter list.  I include breweries that I have yet to drink from, but believe me when I say that I practice what I preach, and I have a very long list to get through.  I have previously used an arbitrary number of <500 Followers to be included in the post, but I’ve decided to open it up to any breweries with any Following.  Afterall, size isn’t everything, right?

Aside from the above, the following breweries are in the newly opened or planning to open soon category.  So in the spirit of #ff (Follow Friday on Twitter) give them a Follow.

@TheKiteBrewery

@Craft_Beers

@BrewshedBrewery

@Hopfuzz

@OthertonAleman

@SteelCityBrew

@rawbrew

@ryelanebrewery

@lochnessbrewery

@HackneyBrewery

@xtbrew

@CromartyBrewing

@bantambreweryco

@EastLondonBrew

@BlueBeeBrewery

@Monkbridge_Ales

Thanks for reading and if you know of any new breweries that I haven’t mentioned here, then please do post a ‘Comment’ and let me know.

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You are Mutually Oblivious III

PictureWell here it is, the third installment in an open-ended series of updates on British breweries large and small who have Twitter accounts but don’t necessarily have the number of Followers they need/deserve/crave.  As I can’t see any rolling-of-eyes I will assume that this is a worthwhile exercise and carry on filling my boots.  (See old posts You are Mutually Oblivious & You are Mutually Oblivious 2 if you have no idea what I am talking about so far).

My thinking here is that for the average beer fan, it can be interesting and at times useful to read what breweries are up to.  It may be information on the release of a new beer or details of an event, but the benefits are fairly obvious.  Similarly, the benefits to brewers are just as obvious (they are to me anyway), whipping up a frenzy of excitement and anticipation strong enough to coax money out of even the tightest of pockets has been proven to bear fruit.  The reason for blogging this is to show my support for those brewers I choose to Follow (always open to suggestions of ones that I’m not Following) and to help, in part, to build the network of beer drinkers and beer producers.  As I only have a network of 500 Followers then it makes good sense to try and get a little help spreading the word via this blog and its potential to be Tweeted and ReTweeted.  Well go on then!
You can see my old posts for the original list of breweries and their Twitter progress and you will notice that I decided on the arbitrary number of <500 Followers to be included, but I want to use this post to introduce some breweries that have shown up on my radar over the past month;Followers 13/09/11
@Tempest Brewery                      57              Tempest Brewery
@oleslewfootbrew                        58              Ole Slew Foot Brewery
@LivOrganicBrew                        128             Liverpool Organic Brewery
@AndwellBrewing                       137             Andwell Brewing Company
@TapEast                                         191             Tap East (Brewpub)
@kelburnbrewery                        295             Kelburn Brewery
@dancingduckbrew                     316             Dancing Duck Brewery
@DartmoorBrewery                    351             Dartmoor Brewery
@ButcombeBrewery                   445             Butcombe Brewery
@xtbrew                                           470            XT Brewing

Picture The list below are the breweries I included last month, but pay special attention to London Fields Brewery, who following their successfull launch 27th-29th August have a mighty impressive increase of 500 Followers in a month!   They plan a similar event and launch of two new beers on Saturday 24th September 11:00am until Midnight, at the Brewery.  Well done guys!

12/08/11     13/09/11
@chiltern_brewer
                 51            80            +29         The Chiltern Brewery
@hackneybrewery                115          204          +89          Hackney Brewery
@croptonbrewery                 136         164           +28          Cropton Brewery
@eastlondonbrew                  139          201          +62          East London Brewery
@hewittsbrewery                  152          181            +29          Hewitt’s Brewery
@allendaleale                          222          281           +59          Allendale Brewery
@ldnfldsbrewery                   416           916          +500        London Fields Brewery

So there you have it,  more new breweries popping up* and more established breweries embracing the power of Twitter.  So don’t be mutually oblivious, clickety-click that mouse button and help join the dots!

Thanks for reading.

(*99 in the last 12 months – Source: CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2012)

Brass Castle Brewery

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a homebrewer dreaming of progressing my hobby in the hope that one day I’ll be successfull in selling my beer.  With the brewing industry going from strength to strength and scores of new breweries opening in the last few years, I happened across one start-up brewery who is living this dream.  Brass Castle is a real ale nanobrewery in Pocklington, East Yorkshire.  I hail from a small town in East Yorkshire and moved to Bradford 25 years ago, but I still have a strong connection with the region which makes Brass Castle that bit more of an interest to me.  I’m also very interested in the use of social media to promote brewing and was in touch with Brass Castle when I researched one of my previous blog posts (You are Mutually Oblivious & subsequently You are Mutually Oblivious 2), which shows their Twitter Following rapidly increase as they engaged with the brewing community.  This appears to me to be a subject being taken more seriously by brewers entering a very competitive market, and one where you may see more breweries following Camden Town Brewery‘s example in their recent appointment of Mark Dredge as their social media guru.
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The Brass Castle Nanobrewery

Phil Saltonstall is the owner, brewer and general brew-monkey of the Brass Castle Brewery.  There is definitely a romantic image of owning your own brewery, but I happen to know that it doesn’t all smell of hops!  Plenty goes on behind the pint glass and and it’s hard graft.  Phil is just one example of an amateur homebrewer who, over a period of years, has taken the plunge and turned professional.  Through homebrewing and through his time working at the Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton, New Jersey, Phil has honed his skills and his confidence and is putting his money where his mouth is.  What strikes me though as that you can make this transition from any walk of life and in some cases it is possible to balance brewing with a busy life.  Before concentrating on his beer-calling, Phil was a Royal Navy Lynx helicopter pilot for 9 years and is now a full-time coastguard, but following a Brewlab course at the University of Sunderland and I imagine countless hours he has successfully built his brewery, tested his recipes and sold his beer! Bravo sir!
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Phil Mashing In

To paraphrase some of the comments Phil has made in response to his beer going public, he has been both delighted and encouraged with the early interest he’s received from local pubs and festivals, so much so that he brought forward the launch date of his debut beer.  The original plan was to launch at Pocktoberfest, (@Pocktoberfest if you want to follow their updates), the Pocklington based Music & Beer Festival 2011.  However, given the opportunity to get involved in nearby York, Brass Castle’s Cliffhanger debuted at The Swan and The Slip Inn’s beer festival between 2nd and 4th September.  Seemingly things went well for their first commercial outing and an empty cask along with positive feedback says it all.

Next up is the York Beer and Cider Festival on Knavesmire 15th-17th September where punters will have the pleasure of trying Brass Castle’s second brew, Bad Kitty, a 5.5% abv vanilla porter, along with Cliffhanger 3.8% abv and described as a refreshing hop-laden golden ale, infused with a wave of citrus notes (brewed in honour of Coastguard Rescue Teams, and a proportion of the takings at The Swan and Slip Inn were donated to the Coastguard Association).

Following on from York’s Festival it’s on to the local Pocktoberfest ,29th-30th October, where there will be a chance to try the third addition to Phil’s range, a 4.5% abv Best Bitter.  All’s left to say is keep up the good work Phil (and Harriet) and I look forward to trying your beers the next time I make a trip back to visit family… although I may call ahead and reserve some to make sure I don’t miss out!

Thanks for reading.

If you want to read more about Brass Castle Brewery you can do so at Andy Mogg’s Beer Reviews site in his regular spot; ‘Meet the Brewer‘, in the York Press ‘New Brewery on a Real Cliffhanger‘.  Also, keep an eye on the development of Phil’s website too and don’t forget to Follow @BrassCastleBeer on Twitter to get an insight into a brewers crazy world.  N.B Brass Castle’s beers are also suitable for Vegans.

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.

You are Mutually Oblivious

You may have noticed that I am an understated fan of Twitter *ahem!*.  It’s different things to different people, but for me Twitter helps me to become; aware of; chat with; maybe meet or network with; and most of all keeps me in touch with a large proportion of what is happening in the world of brewing.  It goes without saying that 140 characters is limiting when it comes to getting your point across, but Tweeting is just the front-end of the conversation and links to websites or offline chats can prove to be valuable for all manner of reasons.

One thing that needs to happen to make Twitter useful to individuals such as myself, and I imagine any other discerning Tweeter, is that you need to put a little bit of work in to build your network.  ‘Following’ other like minded individuals or businesses is half of the equation, the other being ‘Followers’ who will determine how far your own message will be heard by others.  It’s a network in the truest sense of the term, imagine the possibilities for a commercial business looking to get their name on the map and the cash registers ringing.    Beyond those in your immediate Twitter atmosphere you have the ‘Mutually Oblivious’, those who, like it or not, are only a click away from Following you! This is a resource just waiting to be tapped.  They Follow someone who Follows you or you Follow someone who Follows them, but whichever way you cut it, you are connected.

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Six Degrees of Separation

Before thinking about the status of Mutual Obliviousness, and becoming interested enough to blog about it, I was already aware of a couple of well known ideas that explain this better than I can.  You will probably be aware of the concept of the Six degrees of separation.  Wikipedia tells us that this “refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy. (Source Wiki).  You can see how this relates to Twitter without me stating the mutually obvious!
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Shrinking World

Karinthy describes a “Shrinking World…. Due to technological advances in communications and travel, friendship networks could grow larger and span greater distances…an ever-increasing connectedness of human beings”. He concluded that “despite great physical distances between the globes individuals, the growing density of human networks made the actual social distance far smaller” (source Wiki).

A study of social media and of 5.2 billion such relationships was undertaken by Sysomos (a monitoring company) and found that the average distance on Twitter is only 4.67. I.e. on average, about 50% of people on Twitter are only four steps (or degrees) away from each other, while nearly everyone is five steps away. (source Wiki).

But enough of that, I’ve made the point and have a tendency to labour an idea given large amounts of caffeine.  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.  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.

@bronteales                 15     Bronte Ales
@shawsbrewery          70     Shaws Brewery
@brasscastlebeer       84      Brass Castle Brewery
@ridgesidebrewer      126    Ridgeside Brewery
@wensleydale_ale      137    Wensleydale Brewery
@redchurchbrewer    145    The Red Church Brewery
@tobymckenzie           183     Red Willow Brewery / Toby McKenzie
@revolutionsbrew      188     Revolutions Brewery
@wentwellbrewery     200    Wentwell Brewery
@orkneybrewery         200    The Orkney Brewery
@kentbrewery               207    Kent Brewery
@kirkstallbrew              219     Kirkstall Brewery
@stringersbeer             235     Stringers Beer
@quantumbc                 236     Quantum Brewing Co.
@broughtonales           277     Broughton Ales Ltd
@sandstonebrewer      277     Sandstone Brewery
@lochnessbrewery       279    Loch Ness Brewery
@brentwoodbrewco     283    Brentwood Brewing Co.
@durhambrewery          289    The Durham Brewery
@westerhambrew          296     Westerham Brewery / Robert Wicks
@ccookbrewery              338     Captain Cook Brewery
@quantockbrewery       349     Quantock Brewery / Rob Rainey
@mallinsons                     366     Mallinsons
@trianglebrewery          370     Golden Triangle Brewery
@bantambreweryco      381     Bantam Brewery Co. / Henry Kirk
@huntersbrewery          403      Hunters Brewery
@wharfebank                   420      Wharfe Bank Brewery
@oldbrew                          455      Oldershaw Brewery
@conistonbrewco          467      Coniston Brewing Co.
@lymestonebrewer        472     Lymestone Brewery  / Ian Bradford
@merlinbrewingco         478     Merlin Brewing Co.

There are of course a few that creep just outside the 500 mark (just to reiterate that these are just from my Follows);
@roosterbrewing             505     Rooster Brewery
@woldtopbrewery           537     Wold Top Brewery
@drinkmoorbeer              573     Moor Beer Company
(all figures as at 17/07/2011)

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The Tipping Point

Other than waffling on about something I happen to find interesting, I’m hoping that people reading this blog spot a few on the list that they are Mutually Oblivious to and may want to Follow?  The idea being that between us we increase the readership of our beer and brewing network and reduce further still the average distance or degrees of separation we are from each other.  We only need look as far as Malcolm Gladwell‘s book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (ISBN 0-316-31696-2).  In his book Gladwell defines a tipping point [among other things] to be; “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.”  The book seeks to explain and describe the “mysterious” sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do” (Source Wiki).

As unsavoury as it sounds, let’s spread the message of good beer like a friendly yet pleasantly inebriating virus!

Thanks for reading.

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Just as an after thought….and far from British, but a fun example of this theory put to the test can be seen with Tooheys Extra Dry Campaign in Australia – Six Beers of Separation .