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Fall beers while beer falls

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted August 31, 2015
BA fall craft beer listings BBPA beer volumes fall

BA releases autumn craft beer listing while BBPA announces downward spring beer stats.

It may be August right now but according to experts at the prestigious Camborne Universty in Cornwall "there is a strong chance" it will be "September or something soon".

"This," says head of geography Dr Wendy Crate, "could well usher in a mini ice age, lasting for about six months in the northern hemisphere."

"Or maybe it'll just rain a lot."

"A bit like it did in the summer, really."

Either way, Crate is not alone in predicting a seasonal shift that some have been quick to label 'autumn', or 'the fall' if they live in Norfolk or the States.

For example, a press release from the US Brewers Association (BA) concurs that "with fall upon us, the air will begin getting a bit cooler and crisper".

This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing as the press release notes that the BA has now compiled "a list of delectable fall seasonal craft beer choices" that can be read in full on its website here.

"Thanks to its rich harvest, fall is truly one of the most magical times of the year for beer," says BA craft beer programme director and publisher Julia Herz.

"Small and independent brewers delight in spicing up their offerings with all the flavourful contributions autumn has to offer."

"Without a doubt, these beers are certain to arouse the senses."

Indeed, the BA states, "the signature flavours and aromas that make fall seasonals great have led them to become the bestselling among the four seasons".

What's more, accounting for a 20.8% share of total US craft beer volumes in 2014, these particular brews are "continuing to increase in popularity" and last year saw their sales volumes rise 3.8%.

It is understood that as well as staving off the worst effects of permafrost, the onslaught of mile-thick glaciers and the unwanted attention of big hairy sabre-toothed tigers, theses autumnal tipples also go well with a wide range of solids, including crisps, kebabs and woolly mammoth trunks.

"As the leaves change, nutty and sweet fall squash will give richness to any dish and provide a great pairing to the roast and spice in many fall seasonals," BA executive chef Adam Dulye explains.

"For notes of acid in your cooking this fall, turn away from summery citrus and explore how pairing apples and pears can really bring out the flavour in craft beer."

"Kinda like when you inflate a balloon while looking in the mirror."

"Autumn, though, isn't the only season," says Camborne Universty's head of history Dr Wendy Crate.

"In the past, there was also spring."

"Furthermore, while some things, such as the popularity of certain brews, increase, other things decrease, which is like increasing but the other way round."

"Kinda like when you inflate a balloon while looking in the mirror."

A good example of this, she says, "are UK second-quarter beer sales", which, a British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) press release reveals, decreased 5.6% year-on-year, from from 7.5m barrels (12.3m hl) a year ago to just under 7.1m.

Meanwhile, over the 12 months to June 2015, total sales were down 2.4%, with off-trade sales slipping 1.9% and on-trade 2.9%.

While second-quarter sales have been in general decline since at least 1998 (when sales volumes stood at more than 9.7m barrels), this year's quarterly sales may have been slightly skewed by Easter falling early as some brewery sales, the BBPA says, "may have shifted" into the first quarter compared to 2014, when Easter fell in late April.

Furthermore, the prior year's second-quarter sales were also boosted by that World Cup thing, which saw lots of people drinking more because some men kicked a ball.

In fact, the BBPA notes, while 2015 second-quarter sales may have fallen, they nevertheless "remained above those [of] Q2 2013", when total sales stood at just under 6.9m barrels.

That said, the BBPA clearly feels that things could still be better.

"While we may see a bounce back in Q3, these latest figures give no room for complacency and show that more action is needed on beer duty," says BBPA CEO Brigid Simmonds.

"The chancellor has made a great start with his three one-penny cuts but with inflation very low and an industry still experiencing the impact of the 42% rise under the previous government's escalator policy there is no doubt that more action is needed to create a more sustainable future for Britain's national drink."

Exactly when this will happen, though, is anyone's guess but one thing is certain.

The Rake & Herald will soon be flogging a fantastic range of nicely-priced beer- and booze-themed T-shirts from an online suitcase here, so get your readies ready to become the best-dressed boozer in the boozer.

Bonzer, eh?

I should flippin' coco!

See also Big jump in craft beer production, posted 27/7/15.

Sandi Toxic
was raised by wolves inside a disused clay pit near Lanjeth. You can befriend her on FaceBook here. She is still quite feral.

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