Star Spangled Banner or Union Jack?

In Trends on July 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm

A July 4th look at the influence of America on the U.K craft scene.

The special relationship between the U.S and the U.K is well known throughout the world and inspires comment and debate in its droves. In the spheres of politics and popular culture a trans-Atlantic swap shop is clear to see, these shared interests have also spilled into the craft beer scene. America has a love of our quintessential pub and ale culture and we in return have a love of their big-bold flavours and just as bold branding. This combination of the need for good ales, huge flavours and exciting branding has made the special relationship even more prominent in recent times.

An American invasion has been brewing over the past few years as our own craft beer scene comes to the fore of beer drinking in the U.K. American craft beer has permeated the fridges and pumps of our bars and pubs and is now very much part of our drinking culture. A great time for beer enthusiasts as the wide range of American craft beers and breweries provide exciting new drinking experiences. I for one have embraced this influx of new huge hop flavours, label designs and branded glassware. American breweries are not afraid to share their love of English ale either; Doug Odell (of Odell’s brewery of course!) is a huge U.K beer fan and the influx of his brewery’s beers into the U.K market is a testament to this as his beers are only available in a limited number of U.S states but we can get them over here with relative ease.

The U.K brewing community has also taken inspiration from the Americans in recent times. An obvious starting point is Brewdog with their bold branding, aggressive marketing and hop filled beers.  Acorn brewery and their American hop IPA series has also been a nod to the states and produced some brilliant cask ales. The current move toward the use of keg to dispense some of the U.K’s most revered brewery’s beers including Thornbridge has its inspiration firmly set in the U.S. The American influence is definitely clear to see and has provided a catalyst for improved sales, press and internet coverage and I think quality in the U.K craft industry.

This American influence should be embraced. Just as the U.S took inspiration from our pub and ale culture we should be excited by the doors that many American breweries have opened for our own brewers. Branding has been discussed a few times on blogs and I can see a shift towards bold designs in the U.K. Magic Rock, Hardknott and Brewdog all have very defined pump clips and online presences which paired with good beer makes for a better-rounded brand.

At a time when being proud to be British is often scoffed at I can say with gusto that I am proud of British beer. The diversity of beer produced by the men and women in the breweries of our land is a testament to the traditions of the past and the innovation to push this industry into the future. At Port Street Beer House a week ago ooh’s and ah’s could be heard when Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo was revealed on cask but can the same be said when a new Magic Rock or Hardknott appears on the hand pumps?  Craft beer is OUR bread and butter and we are the leaders in this field, we should be just as excited about beer produced on this side of the Atlantic as we are when we see new American brews. So on this Independence Day let’s support our independent beer industry and have a pint or bottle of home-grown craft beer!


  1. I’m loving the USA beers that I’ve been trying in recent months, the flavour and aromas they tend to have are a breath of fresh air. That said I’m even more impressed by the UK breweries that are experimenting with this brewing style and will quite happily choose one of those if available.

    I was at the Magic Rock launch at North Bar last Thursday those boys truly do ROCK, they certainly would be on my list of beers to try in front of their American cousins.

    Good post, Cheers Phil

    • Thanks for your comments Phil.

      I hope the tone of the post reflects my love of American craft beer too! But we should be just as excited about the beer made on our shores as I think at the moment we are moving towards styles and tastes that can match the brews from the USA.

      Exciting times.

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