Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

American Beer for American Presidential Candidates

Imagine you’re in the running to be a candidate for the president of a country, and you’re organising a party with beer. Do you:

  • Serve beer from your country, to support your country’s businesses and promote the best home-grown beverages?
  • Import a distinctly average beer from somewhere else?

Well, if you’re Carly Fiorina, you do the latter, according to this tweet by a Buzzfeed journalist. Whilst Fiorina has now ‘suspended’ her bid to be the Republican candidate for US President, she was still in the running last weekend, when she organised a party to watch the Super Bowl. And the beer provided was Newcastle Brown Ale.

‘Newkie Brown’, as it’s nicknamed, used to be quite popular in Britain, but it’s not so easy to get hold of nowadays. It’s more popular in the north of England, especially around Newcastle where the beer was once brewed. The Newcastle brewery closed in 2005 and it’s now produced in a massive plant 90 miles away in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, along with other mainstream beer brands. Unlike most traditional ales in Britain, which tend to be hand-pulled from metal casks at or near room temperature, Newcastle Brown Ale is almost exclusively distributed in bottles and kept in the fridge. And though its popularity in the UK seems to be declining, it’s becoming more popular overseas. If Wikipedia is to be believed, more than half of all Newcastle Brown Ale is exported to America, and in some bars it’s possible to order a ‘Strongcastle’. That’s Strongbow cider mixed with Newcastle Brown Ale, which at once sounds both disgusting and an abomination, and is not a thing in Britain.

A bottle of beer from the Brooklyn BreweryI think I’ve drank Newcastle Brown Ale precisely once, and didn’t think much of it. Nowadays, there are hundreds of other small breweries in the UK that produce much better beer, and some of the larger American craft brewers are beginning to get a foothold in the UK too. Wetherspoons, our large national pub chain, stocks beers from the Brooklyn Brewery, Six Point and Goose Island amongst others, and it’s not too difficult to find pubs with a range of Sierra Nevada beers, or some bottles of Blue Moon. Flying Dog and Founders beers are available at some better bars.

So if I can get hold of decent, American beer at my local pub in a small town in Northern England (as pictured) – then why is Carly Fiorina serving a distinctly average mass-produced English beer? Shouldn’t she be supporting local American producers? Or at least serving something American? There’s no point in running on a slogan entitled ‘Take Our Country Back’ if she’s not endorsing American companies.

I don’t know what other candidates are doing with respect to beer – if anything – so I can’t comment on anyone else. This just happened to strike me as a bit odd. Although considering Fiorina’s tenure as head of HP during the time of the disastrous ‘iPod+HP’ period, this issue, or the fact that she has ‘suspended’ her campaign, doesn’t surprise me.

One Comment

  1. Better not let MerseyTart hear your views on Newcastle Brown. 🙂 See towards the end of this article to understand why.