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JUNE 2021

This monthly newsletter is dedicated to celebrating the work and accomplishments of our individual Guild members. To submit your update, email




After Tuesday night’s Annual General Meeting, I stood down as Chair of the British Guild of Beer Writers. I was re-elected to the Board and look forward to being involved in a different capacity. I just wanted to take this time to recap on what we did during my term and where we are now.

I always intended to serve no more than three years. During that time I introduced a Code of Conduct which is designed to help members who may not have journalistic training navigate the ethics of responsible reporting, and also to give guidelines on acceptable speech and behaviour among Guild members and at Guild events. We also created a strategic plan which goes into detail about exactly how the Guild delivers against its objectives of improving standards of beer writing and extend the public knowledge of beer. 

Halfway through my term, we were hit by the Covid pandemic, and the Board and Nat - our new secretary who we hired in 2019 - made sure the Guild could continue with training, events and our annual awards on an online footing. We did all this while managing to reduce a steep annual loss to a roughly break-even status, thanks chiefly to the sterling work of Annabel Smith on retaining individual membership and Robert Humphreys' and Frances Brace’s relentless focus on driving corporate membership of the Guild. 

I’ve always tried to make the Guild more open to its membership and improve channels of communication. But that’s a two-way street. If you’re unhappy with an aspect of the Guild, or think there’s something we should be doing better, please contact whichever Board member you feel happiest talking to, and tell us. 

I’m delighted to hand over the reins to Emma Inch. Given our society's and our industry’s reckoning with issues of inclusivity, diversity and representation, I think it’s good to have someone who isn't a middle-aged white bloke represent the Guild to the outside world for a while. 

But that’s not why I initially sounded out Emma about taking over six months ago. 

Being a great Chair requires a bunch of different skills, and it’s a rare person who has them all - I certainly didn’t possess the full set. Emma has show she is a brilliant presenter and can make a great ambassador for the Guild. Her podcasting shows she can relate to people, put them at ease and get them to open up, but I also know she can be tough when she needs to be. When strong leadership is needed, she’ll be able to provide it. 

Oh, and she’s a wonderful writer and brilliant person too.

It’s been a blast. People, may I hand you over to your new Guild Char.


Pete Brown
Former Guild Chair



The first British Guild of Beer Writers event I attended changed my life.

It was a training course called ‘Pitch & Deal’ and was held in the quiet upstairs room of a central London pub. Over the course of a day, I learned how to expertly pitch my ideas and negotiate terms with commissioning editors. As a direct result of what I learned on this course, the quality of my pitches improved, I secured many more commissions, and I began making more money from my writing than I’d ever done before. But more than that, the simple act of talking to other beer communicators, of making links and sharing stories, enabled me to feel a part of a community in a way that simply sitting at my desk writing seldom could.

As a Guild member I’ve benefitted immensely from the training, events and advice on offer, but the informal contacts, the support, and the real friendships I’ve formed with other members have been priceless. As I take over as Chair of the British Guild of Beer Writers, I want to commit to working towards a time when everyone involved in beer communication feels as welcomed and included as I have done. And in common with all institutions – and indeed all individuals – it’s important that we examine the places where we fall short in terms of true equity and inclusion, and take steps to address these issues. It’s not enough for us to simply make statements or declarations; we must now take action.

Having worked in higher education for a number of years, both teaching and learning are very close to my heart. Lifelong learning can be of benefit to both our professional and personal development. It allows us to examine the world – and our own place within it – in different ways. Now, more than ever, we need to adapt to new technologies and new ways of working, even new ways of being. I hope that in the coming years the guild continues to play a part in supporting members to both engage in learning themselves, and to educate the wider public about beer and pubs.

In a post-COVID world priorities for many of us will change. As we move forward, I see issues such as sustainability, mental health, and economic security as gaining importance for Guild members, the people we write for, and the people we write about. I look forward to chairing the Guild through what I’m sure will be very eventful times.

Thank you to those people who voted for me, and to those who have sent me messages of support and congratulations. During my time as Chair I hope to meet as many of you as possible. In the meantime, please feel free to get in touch with me.

And finally, thank you to Pete Brown for his support, encouragement and chairmanship of the Guild over the past three years. I hope to be able to build on the legacy he has left.


Emma Inch
Guild Chair


Tomm Carroll featured speaker for Masterclass in Italian craft beer

Los Angeles-based Guild member Tomm Carroll, a longtime advocate for birra artigianale, joins Italian craft expert Lorenzo “Kuaska” Dabove for an online Masterclass entitled Untapped Secrets of Italian Craft Beer. 

A collaboration between the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce West (IACCW), headquartered in Los Angeles, and the Accademia delle Professioni in Padua, the class will explore the originality and creativity of modern Italian brewers and the intimate relationship to their homeland through the use of local ingredients. 

Untapped Secrets of Italian Craft Beer takes place online on Thursday, 8 July, 12:00-1:00 PM PDT / 9:00-10:00 PM CET. For more information and complimentary registration (by 5 July), visit

The Guild is pleased to offer a broad range of events and trainings for our members. Full details are available on our events page

Online Event
The Drink Question in Britain:
Temperance, Public Health and Moral Panics

Tuesday, July 6th from 12 - 1:30pm BST
Online via Zoom

Guest speaker: Ryosuke Yokoe

When we write about beer, we are never quite writing only about beer. Alcohol is a contentious subject, a substance through which political interests are played out, a site of struggle for control. For those who simply want to celebrate beer, this can be a source of frustration and a dilemma. There are those in the public health community who seem to be the enemies of drink. But is the answer simply to join the opposing camp, the industry? Or is there another approach?

A good way of beginning to understand the complexities of the drink question is through its history. Our main speaker for this event is Ryosuke Yokoe, a historian specialising in drink, medicine, and public health in 20th-century Britain. He completed his PhD on the history of alcohol and liver disease at the University of Sheffield in 2019 and is now a postdoctoral researcher based at the University of Tokyo.

Ryo will take us through the long 20th Century of alcohol politics in Britain, covering the legacy of Victorian temperance, the upheavals of World War One, the period of ‘moderationism’, the 1970s paradigm shift in understanding alcohol problems and the issues of the present day.

Along the way, he’ll deal with matters of science and morality, the pathologised drinker and the politics underlying alcohol policy.

His presentation will be introduced by beer and pubs journalist Phil Mellows, author of the Politics of Drinking blog, who will look at the subject from the point of view of the working beer writer, and there will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

RSVP here
More 2021 events and training courses will be announced shortly. If there are specific topics you'd like to see covered, contact with your suggestions. 
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