Friday, 31 July 2009

British lager in turmoil

Global giants are axing plants
as craft brewers' sector booms

The British lager market is in turmoil. A beer style that seemed unstoppable has suddenly crashed into the buffers.
The crisis – falling demand and sales – is best seen by the activities of the world’s brewing giant AB InBev. Earlier this year, it announced it planned to close the Stag Brewery in Mortlake, south-west London. It’s an historic site, owned for many decades by the Watneys group. More recently it has brewed Budweiser for the American giant Anheuser Busch, now merged with InBev.
This month the group reported that it planned to withdraw Castlemaine XXXX from the British market. It said it had decided not to renew its distribution deal with the Australian brewer Lion Nathan, owner of the brand, as a result of “challenging market conditions” here.
And now comes the news that AB InBev may close the Tennent’s lager brewery in Glasgow. This is truly ground-shaking. Tennent’s accounts for 60% of the Scottish lager market – and the Scots drink a lot of lager.
AB InBev refused to comment on the media speculation, but as the story first surfaced in the Times – not a paper given to idle speculation – we have to assume it’s true. According to the newspaper, the brewer has appointed investment bankers Lazards to dispose of the Wellpark site in Glasgow to help the group reduce its debts.
Tennents holds an important role in the history of brewing in Britain. It was brewing lager as early as 1888 and is thought to be the first company to make beer by the system of cold fermentation. According to a contemporary report, by 1906 “a new brewery complete in all details has arisen occupying the whole north-east portion of the site of the Brewery, and devoted to the manufacture of Lager, Munich and Pilsener beer”.
Tennents became the Scottish arm of the Bass group. When Bass left brewing in 2000, it sold its brewing interests to the Belgian group Interbrew, which in turn merged with Ambev of Brazil to become InBev. InBev swallowed Anheuser Busch last year, the greatest merger in world brewing history, making it the biggest manufacturer of beer on the planet.
The mergers have come at a heavy price. Not only is InBev loaded with debt as a result of buying AB but it finds that a decreasing number of drinkers want to consume its products. It shifts vast amounts of liquid through supermarkets but there is little profit in that sector of the market as a result of massive discounts demanded by the high street retailers.
The decline of the brewing giants stands in stark contrast to the success of the craft brewing end of the market. There are now 668 breweries operating in Britain, more than at any time in living history. Some 160 breweries have come on stream in the past three years and, while not yet complete, the new edition of the Good Beer Guide will list a further 50 or 60.
It’s a standing joke among giant global brewers that they spill more beer than the craft brewers produce. But that’s not the point. Consumers are voting with their feet, forsaking the bland liquids of the globals and switching to beers with flavour.
AB InBev is not alone in closing breweries. Heineken, which owns both Beamish and Murphy’s in Cork, has announced it will close Beamish and concentrate the production of stout at Murphy’s. Last week, the Dutch giant said it would close the massive Fischer brewery in Lille in northern France.
Back home, Carlsberg will close the historic Tetley’s plant in Leeds while S&N – owned by our friends at Heineken – has already closed its Bristol, Edinburgh and Newcastle plants and now has its axe is poised over Reading.
In the 1970s, a leading British economist called E.F. Schumacher wrote a book called Small is Beautiful. It was a best-seller in its day and it urgently needs to be republished.
Schumacher’s argument was a simple one: big businesses are inherently inefficient and even chaotic. They dehumanise the people they employ as a result of their sheer size and remoteness. And they frequently produce goods and consumables that are over-hyped, expensive and rapidly rejected by consumers.
Forty years on, it’s an argument with great resonance for global brewers. Drinkers are increasingly tired of bland, fizzy liquids. Concerned about global warming, they want beer that is brewed with locally-grown ingredients and sold in pubs close to the brewery, not trunked around the planet.
Many of the new wave of British beers will be on show next week at the Great British Beer Festival in London’s Earl’s Court (see www.camra.org.uk). Be there – and buy me a beer.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Voice of agribusiness attacks organic

Blow to better quality food
and drink in biased report

Ever since it was founded, the Food Standards Agency has been an outspoken critic of organic farming and the food and drink it creates. The FSA is clearly biased in favour of agribusiness, whose activities in Mexico are directly responsible for swine flu.
Today's "independent" [sic] report produced for the FSA finds there is no greater nutritional value in organic food than conventional food. This is risible. The report beggars belief as it excludes from its findings the use of pesticides, fertilisers and other agro-chemicals and yet it's the use of these cancer-causing chemicals that is the major cause for concern among organic farmers and consumers.
Remember the famous Sainsbury's lettuce that had been washed 16 times and yet still contained traces of chemicals? A few years ago, the head brewer at Hardy's & Hansons brewery in Nottingham said that even after washing and cleaning he still found chemical traces in his hops. He had stopped buying English hops and had switched to American suppliers. That was a loss to English famers and the British economy.
The use of chemical sprays is not only bad for consumers but also harmful to the environment. Research has shown that spraying hops kills predators such as ladybirds that attack spiders and other pests that damage hops. If untreated grass is allowed to grow at the foot of hop bines, predators will settle there and feed on spider mites and other pests.
For me, there's a subjective attitude in this. Some years ago, a close friend of mine in the brewing industry stopped his car to check under the bonnet. He was alongside a field that was being sprayed with chemicals from a crop-spraying plane. The plane passed over my friend and drenched him in chemicals. He died some years later after a long struggle with cancer.
On a more objective note, I trust this absurd report from the FSA will not stop the growing number of organic beers being produced in Britain. They are good for the countryside and good for drinkers.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Yorkshire beer returns to base

Theakston celebrates return
of its flagship Best Bitter

After 35 years on the road and round the mulberry bush, Theakston's Best Bitter has returned to the bosom of its family in Masham, North Yorkshire. The family-owned T&R Theakston has announced that Best Bitter will return to the brewery after an absence of 35 years.
The brewery now has the capacity to take on its flagship brand as a result of investment and expansion at the plant, which was founded in 1827. The beer's return marks the fifth anniversary of the return of the brewery to family ownership, following its sale by Scottish & Newcastle to four Theakstons brothers.
Managing director Simon Theakston said: "It was in 1974, at the height of the cask beer revival, that Theakstons bought the Carlisle State Brewery and moved some of its beers there.
"Since my brothers and I regained control of the company five years ago, it has always been our intention to bring all brewing back to Masham. For the past few years, Best Bitter has been brewed by John Smiths at Tadcaster, always with our recipe, raw materials and quality control.
"But there's no place like home and the return of Best Bitter to Masham will be a cause of great celebration."
In 1984 Theakstons was taken over by Matthew Brown of Blackburn. Brown was then bought by Scottish & Newcastle in 1987. As a result, the historic Carlisle State Brewery closed and somne Theakston's beers moved to Brown's subsidiay Workington wery in Cumbria. S&N closed all the Brown brewries and moved Theakston's Best Bittr to the Tyne Brewry in Newcastle. Tyne closed in 2004 and the beer then transferred to John Smiths in Tadcaster. S&N, including John Smiths, is now owned by Heineken.

Naturalists should have a glass of the black stuff

Nonsense talked about toucan's beak:
it was designed with Guinness in mind

A complete load of nonsense was written about the toucan's beak last week. Research [sic] by scientists in Canada and Brazil have come up with a theory [sic again] that the outrageous size of the toucan's beak is the result of evolution and helps keep the bird cool in hot climates.
Even Charles Darwin was wrong when he said the size, shape and colour of the bird's beak was emblemtaic of sexual desirability.
But as every beer lover knows, the toucan's beak was designed with only one aim in mind: to balance a glass of Guinness.
In 1929, Guinness took its first-ever advertisement in a daily newspaper. It bought the entire front page of the London-based Daily Express to launch the slogan "Guinness Is Good For You". In an age unpolluted by political correctness, the Dublin brewery quoted eminent doctors who agreed that a glass or two of the black stuff every day was highly beneficial as a result of the natural irons and minerals contained in the stout, along with malted barley, hops, yeast and pure Wicklow Mountains water.
Guinness then hired the London advertising agency Bensons to design a series of posters to promote the beer. Bensons took on the artist John Gilroy to paint a series of animal-based illustrations that pointed-up the inherent healthiness and strength of stout. Gilroy used lions, sealions, kangaroos and elephants in his work. When he decided to use a puffin or a penguin, he was advised by Dorothy L Sayers to use a toucan instead. Sayers was a noted crime writer -- the creator of the amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey -- but also worked as a copywriter at Bensons.
In 1935, Gilroy drew and painted a toucan with a glass of Guinness on its beak and Sayers penned the immortal lines:
"If he can say as you can
Guinness is good for you,
How grand to be a Toucan:
Just think what Toucan do."
It became the most famous of the many rhymes and jingles used to promote Guinness. The toucan image has been revived this year to mark the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Dublin brewery but the health police will make sure that Sayers' jingle can not be used with the illustration.
But on 24 September -- Arthur Guinness's birthday -- when we are asked to raise a glass to him, lets also recall the toucan and laugh to scorn the suggestion that its beak is used for anything but a resting place for a glass of the divine black liquid from Dublin.
*One of Dorothy L Sayers' crime novels is called Murder Must Advertise, based on her experience at Bensons.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Global giant may axe Scottish brewery

Tennent's faces closure threat
from world's giant AB InBev

Tennent's brewery in Glasgow, thought to tbe first British brewer to make lager, faces closure from its owner, the world's biggest producer AB InBev.
According to the Times newspaper, AB InBev has appointed investment bankers Lazards to find buyers for both the brand and the Wellpark Brewery, thought to be worth £86 million. AB InBev has not denied the report.
Tennent's controls 60% of the Scottish lager market but it's a declining market and AB InBev may struggle to find a buyer for the brand. It's a beer with some history. The brewery was founded in 1796 and by 1888 was producing lager with the aid of the new technologies made possible by the industrial revolution. By 1906, according to a contemporary report, "a new brewery complete in all details has arisen occupying the whole north-east portion of the site of the Brewery, and devoted to the manufacture of Lager, Munich and Pilsener beer".
Later in the 20th century the brewery became part of the Bass brewing empire and was known as Tennent Caledonian. When Bass left brewing in 2000, ownership passed to the Belgian brewer Interbrew. Interbrew then merged with Ambev of Brazil to form InBev and in 2008 the group took over Anheuser Busch of the United States, creating the biggest brewing group in the world.
As a result of the merger with AB, InBev has acquired massive debts. It's cutting its losses by closing plants and selling brands. Earlier this year it announced it would close the historic Stag Brewery at Mortlake in London and the Staropramen Brewery in Prague. The Stag plant, better known by its former name of Watney's, produces Budweiser and it's not known where the brand will be made when the brewery closes.
The possible closure of Tennent's comes hard on the heels of Diageo's plans to close one of its Johnny Walker distilleries in Scotland, which has caused outrage among politicians. Now Paul Martin, the Labour MSP whose Glasgow Springburn constituency covers the Wellpark Brewery, said he was seeking an urgent meeting with management and trade unions.
"It's vital that the jobs and conditions of staff are maintained," he said. "This is a profitable and important brand in Scotland and it clearly has a great future. Tennent's is still Scotland's msot famous lager."
Wellpark employs around 300 workers. The brewery produces 100,000 barrels a year and sponsors the Scottish national football team. The problem for Tennent's, along with all large breweries, is falling demand for heavily-promoted brands. Beer sales in Scotland are estimated to be at their lowest since the 1940s. Latest industry figures show that beer sales across Britain dropped 8.3% in the fourth quarter of 2008. But there is strong demand for Tennent's lager abroad, selling in 31 countries.
A spokesman for the Scottish government said it had contacted Tennet's to seek clarification about the company's plans.

Friday, 24 July 2009

CAMRA demands action against pubcos

Beer campaigners warn that
British pubs face extinction

In an outspoken attack on the activities of giant "pubcos" -- pub companies -- the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has today called on the Office of Fair Trading to tackle anti-competitive practices in the pub market that are forcing landlords out of business and closing pubs.
CAMRA enjoys "super-complainant" status and has used its position to call on the OFT to look at high prices, restricted choice and closures in the pub trade.
The campaign's report, A Fair Share for Consumers, says that high rents and "tied" beer prices are driving many pub landlords to quit the business. More than seven pubs are closing every day and CAMRA says this situation is driven by punitive rents and chronic under-investment.
The campaign's chief executive Mike Benner says: "Exploitation of 'beer tied' areements and the unfair method of setting pub rents are harming consumers and society as a whole. It is enshrined in EU law that consumers must get a fair share of the benefits arising from exclusive purchasing deals such as the beer tie, but this is often not the case.
"We hope the OFT will act to deliver a fair share for Brtitain's 14 million regular pubgoers. Reform of the beer tie along with a framework of support from the government is urgently required to save the pub from extinction."
More than half the pubs in Britain are run under "tie" arrangements that prevent pub landlords buying beer and other products on the open market. It means that many pub landlords are forced to pay over the odds by around 50 pence a pint, CAMRA says.
Mike Benner added: "The tied model works best when its a true partnership, where the risks and benefits are shared equally between pub-owning company and the pub landlord.
"But this is not the current reality. Pub-owning companies are able to earn excessive profits by increasing the cost of beer to their tied pub landlords who have no choice but to accept high prices and pass them on to the consumer. This practice has led to higher prices in pubs and has widened the gap between pub and supermarket prices, encouraging people to shun the pub for their armchair."
CAMRA is calling for the OFT to review the way in which excessive pub rents translate into higher prices for pubgoers. The current system, the campaign says, is open to abuse as it is based on a range of hypothetical assumptions and ignores the fact that tied pub landlords have to pay above market prices for beer and other products.
Mike Benner goes on: "Pub landlords should not be denied access to the information and assumptions used to calculate a rent figure. An independent and affordable rent dispute system is urgently needed to avoid pub landlords being forced into agreeing excessive rents because they cannot afford to contest it.
"The rent charged to tied pub landlords must fully take into account the financial penalty they face as a result of being unable to purchase beer and other products on the open market. The current system is seriously flawed and is leading to higher prices in pubs and contributing to the high rate of pub closures."
The report says there is enormous consumer interest in local produce and it is "crazy" that local brewers are prevented from selling their beers to local pubs. Mike Benner says: "We believe a 'guest beer' regulation that would allow tied pub landords to buy a guest real ale from a brewer of their choice should be introduced. This alone would boost choice and have the impact of driving down pub beer prices through competition."

Way forward
The CAMRA report makes it clear it's not calling for the total abolition of the tied pub system. "Total abolition of the beer tie would be a grave error and would be likely to turn the current storm of pub closures into a hurricane," the campaign says. "It would lead to increased domination of the beer market by global brewers. Abolishing the tie would be a classic example of chucking the baby out with the bath water.
"But the tie must be reformed if these valuable small businesses are to survive and thrive. EU competition rules demand that exclusive supply agreements between pub-owning companies and pub landlords must result in a fair share of the benefit for consumers. With increasing pub prices, failing pub businesses and unprecedented pub closures, the model is faltering and must be reformed as a matter of urgency."
*A super complainant process is intended to be a fast-track system for designated consumer bodies. The OFT has 90 days to respond to the CAMRA complaint. If the complaint is upheld the OFT has the option of carrying out a market study, agreeing legally-binding undertakings or a direct referral to the Competition Commission.
A Fair Share for the Consumer is available at www.camra.org/supercomplaint.

SIBA backs call
Keith Bott, president of SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers, has backed CAMRA's complaint to the OFT. He says: "We welcome referral to the OFT and hope this will be the start of a resolution to the issue.
"This long-running debate and uncertainty around the tie is not helpful to our members as they make long-term plans for their business.
"SIBA would like to see greater access for its memebrs' beer into pubs, especially as consumer demand for local quality beers is growing and presenting exciting sales opportunities for brewers and retailers. There are, however, some benefits to the tied model, which is why we don't support calls for it to be removed completely."
*SIBA represents most of Britain's independent and craft brewers, including family-owned companies as well as newer micros.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Evan Evans buys stricken Archers

Simon Buckley plans a new site
in Wiltshire to expand brewing

Archers, the independent Swindon brewery with a chequered history of takeovers and periods of administration, has been bought by Simon Buckley, owner of Evan Evans Brewery in Llandeilo, West Wales, for an undisclosed sum.
Mr Buckley, whose family have been brewers in Wales since 1767, told me he plans to close the Archer's site and build a new brewery in south Wiltshire, which will come on stream later this year. He added that he will radically overhaul the current portfolio of beers.
Archers was founded in 1979 by former RAF pilot Mark Wallington. He based the brewery in a carriage shed that was part of Brunel's station complex in Swindon. Wallington proved to be one of the most successful of the new breed of small craft brewers in the 1980s and moved the brewery to a custom-built site on Penzance Drive alongside the main railway line from Paddington to Bristol and the South-west.
But when Mark Wallington retired and sold the business it went through a series of owners and has been placed in administration three times.
Simon Buckley told me he had ambitious plans for the brewery. Evan Evans is brewing to capacity and Buckley has created a new company, Wiltshire Ales, which will have a distribution centre near Swindon as well as a new brewery in the county.
"Wiltshire Ales is a new cask ale specialist brewer," he said. "We will be revitalising some of the famous Archer's brands and adding new Wiltshire Ales seasonal beers. We will not be re-badging Evan Evans as Archers.
"We see this as a major opportunity for our company to develop new trading opportunities outside Wales and to tap into the lucrative south-east of England market. I hope make both Archer's and Evan Evans' beers available in the London area."
Simon Buckley said he plans to produce Archer’s beers in bottle as well as cask. Last week he launched Cwrw, a bottled real ale, at the gastro-pub Y Cadno in Cardiff. Cwrw is the Welsh for ale.
Buckley, aged 51, is the sixth generation of the Buckley brewing family. One of his ancestors, the Rev James Buckley, is commemorated by the beer Rev James brewed by the large Cardiff independent Brain’s.'

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Xingu: beer with doubtful origins

Historic Brazilian beer or
just a modern black lager?

Xingu Black Beer, previously reviewed on beer-pages.com, proves that dark beers are often the cause of heated debate. Mention the word “porter” and beer lovers rapidly fall out over the origins of the style. Much the same goes for the “Black Beer from the Amazon”.
Xingu owes its place in the beer pantheon due to the work of the American anthropologist Alan D Eames. Eames, who liked to be known as the Indiana Jones of Beer, died in 2007 and left not only a number of books but also considerable controversy over his findings. Where Xingu is concerned, the late Michael Jackson remarked laconically in his Beer Companion that he doubted its Amazonian origins. Eames, who claimed to have discovered the beer after a long and hazardous trek through the Amazon jungle and river basin, was no fan of Jackson and other beer writers who, he said, reviewed beer from the comfort of their armchairs, while he went in search of ancient beer styles with the aid of his canoe.
According to Eames, as early as 1557 tribes in the Amazon region treated black beer with great reverence and gave it spiritual significance. It was claimed to have been brewed by women and the brewing process was started by young virgins, who chewed malt and started fermentation with their pure saliva.
As a result of his research, Eames was encouraged by a group of women beer lovers in Vermont in 1986 to recreate Amazonian black beer. Eames worked with the Kaiser Brewery in Brazil and in 1988 Xingu – named after a region of the Amazon delta -- was first made available in the United States and Latin America.
Critics of the beer pointed out that this modern interpretation was a lager and was brewed with hops. Lager technology did not exist in the 16th century in Brazil, they said, and hops were unknown in the region at that time: they were introduced to Latin America by German, Portuguese and Spanish invaders.
So if we strip out the research of Alan Eames, what we have today is a commercial black lager from a Brazilian company founded by German brewers. The beer has rather more in common with the black beers of the Franconian region of Bavaria. It has a spicy and liquorice aroma with roasted grain notes. It has a rich malty sweetness in the mouth, balanced by roast and light hops, while the bittersweet finish has liquorice, roast and, gentle spicy hops. I doubt the Kaiser Brewery uses any virgins’ saliva as this would undoubtedly fall foul of the Reinheitsgebot, the German beer purity law.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Time to call 'time' on the pubcos

Sheffield publicans face eviction
by heartless giant Enterprise Inns

I had a routine medical check-up last week and was told my blood pressure was “brilliant”. That was before I read last week’s Morning Advertiser and the report of the eviction of two Enterprise hosts in Sheffield.
My blood pressure would have gone off the Richter Scale, not so much brilliant as boiling. The photo accompanying the report shows the licensees, David and Anne-Marie Ball, surrounded by supporters from the GMB trade union. Even though they have such vociferous backers, Mr and Mrs Ball looked like broken and dejected figures, their lives ruined.
It’s not an isolated case. I wrote last year about a pub close to my home, the Old Fox in Bricket Wood in Hertfordshire, where the tenants were evicted by Punch Taverns for rent arrears. There was no softening of hearts at Punch when the hosts pointed out that much of their business in a rural locality depended on customers enjoying the large garden in the summer -- and the summers of 2007 and 2008 had been a disaster, their trade ruined as a result.
In spite of these pleas, Punch won a court order and the two publicans lost not only their pub but their home as well. One of the most heart-breaking aspects of the current crisis in the pub trade is that licensees depend on their pubs not only for their incomes but also as the roofs over their heads.
Let’s look at the facts surrounding the Fleur de Lys in Totley, Sheffield. Enterprise said it was owed £8,000 in rent arrears and £12,000 in losses as a result of the licensees buying outside the tie.
In response, Mr and Mrs Ball claimed barrelage figures supplied by Enterprise when they took over the pub in August last year were exaggerated. They said the £7,500 deposit bond they paid when they moved into the Fleur de Lys covered the rent arrears. They contested the pub chain’s right to charge £12,000 in alleged losses for “buying out”.
And the Balls said the annual rent of £30,000 – an amount sufficient to make your eyes water – should have been closer to £16,000 based on an annual turnover of £160,000.
Here is further evidence of the urgent need to investigate the role of the national pub companies. They act like rogue elephants, tramping through the undergrowth and stamping on anything and anybody that stands in the way of making massive profits from their estates.
They are ruthless profiteers who don’t give a tuppenny damn for the people who run their pubs and the communities they are supposed to support.
Pubs such as the Fleur de Lys should not be designated as tied houses. The pubcos are not brewers who need the direct connection between production line and pub to make their business viable. Pubco outlets are supposed to be free trade – that was why they were not covered by the Beer Orders of the 1990s that forced national brewers to sell guest beers in their pubs.
By what impudent authority does Enterprise Inns tell David and Anne-Marie Ball they should not have bought outside the tie when they should not be covered by a tie in the first place?
CAMRA’s “super complaint” to the Office of Fair Trading, calling for a probe of the pubcos, their rents and their prices needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The report last month by parliament’s Business and Enterprise Committee (BEC) into the working of the pubcos was sufficiently alarming to need action by the OFT.
The BEC found that tenants or lessees in pubco outlets pay 50 pence a pint more for beer from their landlords than if they bought outside the tie. With a crippling 19% increase in beer duty from the government in the past 16 months, is it any wonder that many desperate hosts do buy outside of the tie – a tie that should not, in my opinion, exist.
Perhaps the most scandalous activity of the pubcos concerns the use of restricted covenants. This is such a breach of any concept of the free market that I am stunned that this is permitted in a country wedded to the enterprise culture.
Time and time again, the pubcos close pubs on the grounds they are not viable but stop anyone else buying the outlets by imposing covenants that stipulate the buildings cannot be reopened as licensed premises. This explains why the country and rural areas in particular are dotted with former pubs that have been turned into private houses as a result of the pubcos refusing to allow free traders to buy them.
There are many examples of outlets closed by pubcos on the grounds of lack of viability that have been turned into vibrant free houses, run by people dedicated to their communities and offering a wide choice of beers from mainly local suppliers.
The pubcos, on the other hand, are driven solely by the need to maximise profits. They prefer to buy the bulk of their beers and lagers from global brewers who can afford the deep discounts demanded. Licensees are saddled with punitive rents and the threat of eviction.
It’s time to call time on the pubcos. I urge the OFT to investigate without delay.
*In the interests of fairness – and, as you know, fairness drips from every bone and cuticle of my body – I asked Enterprise for their comments on the Fleur de Lys but they did not respond.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

White Horse flies the Stars and Stripes

Festival of American beers
at iconic south London pub

Sorry for the late notice but I've only just learned about this. The world-famous White Horse pub at Parson's Green near Putney is staging a three-day festival of American beers this weekend -- July 3-5.
The festival will showcase beers rarely seen on British shores from American craft brewers. There will also be British beers that use distinctive American hops.
The American beers at the festival will include cask ales from Sierra Nevada, Victory and Stone Brewery. Stone is showcasing a smoked porter with vanilla pods in the cask, a pale ale with coriander and an extra oak-chipped version of Arrogant Bastard.
Keg beers will include a choice from Goose Island, Flying Dog, Anchor, Great Divide and Left Hand breweries as well as Victory Prima Pils. English beers due to appear include Saltaires Cascade and Hawkshead's Brodie's Californian.
The opening ceremony will be marked by the broaching of a 40-gallon whisky cask filled with London Porter from the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich.
*White Horse, 1-3 Parson's Green, London SW6. 020 7736 2115. www.whitehorsesw6.com