Norway, nostalgia, and beyond
3. June 2021

 

Welcome to the second issue of the SBR in 2021.  As we seem to be finally moving out of the grim darkness of the corona pandemic, we have decided to simply pretend that we’re back to normal, although the corona crisis does happen to be mentioned in quite a few of the articles in this issue.

Our ambition has been to repeat the success from two years ago with a series of Nordic country-themed issues, starting out, as we did last time, with a Norway-themed issue. But, from the onset, I was a bit concerned, given the permanent difficulties I’m having with sourcing good and relevant articles in general, that it would be difficult to fill an entire issue with Norway-themed articles only two years after the last time. Sadly, this proved to be correct, so in spite of the dedicated effort from Tyson Weaver from Bonsak Gårdsmalteri – thanks a lot, Tyson! – who was also instrumental two years ago, we only managed to scrape together 4 Norway-themed articles – one on the northernmost whisky distillery in the world, one about the Norwegian cider revolution, one on the challenges of selling beer online in Norway, and finally one on the latest changes in Norwegian alcohol policy and beer taxation. So, this issue ended up becoming a ‘mini-Norway-theme’ issue…

 

Along these lines, I’ve been in a dialogue with the Editor in Chief of Brauwelt, Lydia Junkersfeld, about establishing an accord allowing us at the SBR to reprint some of the excellent articles from Brauwelt in the SBR. And I’m happy to report that things have fallen into place – my sincerest thanks to Brauwelt and Lydia – in such a way that, onwards, we’ll be able to annually bring you the 2 or 3 best of these articles in slightly abbreviated versions in the SBR.

 

One of the other, non-themed articles in this issue of the SBR – the one about the installation of two new lines at the largest Coca-Cola bottler in Europe, the CCEP plant in Wakefield, UK – has sparked both a bit of nostalgia as well as some thoughts about how our industries have changed during the past couple of decades. Back in the day – up through the 1980s and ‘90s – the SBR often featured long and extremely detailed articles about major investment projects, including entirely new greenfield breweries, new packaging lines, new processing plants, etc. For our readers, these articles were an invaluable source of information on ‘the state of the art’ as regards key technological developments within our industry. Important for those professionals working within the same areas, and enlightening for the rest of us. Back then, the breweries that had made the investments, the suppliers that had delivered the equipment, and the consultants who had managed the projects all saw an interest in making the knowledge about these projects public through publishing in the SBR. And they were willing to allocate the resources needed for the people involved in the projects to document these in the articles. But, during the past decade, the period that I have been your technical editor, we have seen none of these articles. Is this, as some have suggested, because my focus was solely on the exploding craft beer revolution? No, I can honestly say. I would more than gladly have given room in the magazine to both types of topics, quite simply in respect for the spread of interests amongst our readers. The reason for the lack of these articles over the past many years is quite simply that the sources of them have dried out. The companies involved in those large projects simply do not wish to share the know-how any longer, and they clearly do not wish to allocate the resources to do so. How much each of the two reasons for not writing and submitting these articles weigh in the balance, I do not know. But, certainly for the suppliers and the consultants, such articles are great marketing, and it’s not that these companies do not invest in marketing in so many other ways, so the protection of proprietary know-how is most likely the most important reason.

 

Coming back to where I started, with the article about the two new lines at CCEP in Wakefield, it started with a simple press release from KHS. Reading this, I immediately got the idea that, finally, I would be able to again bring you a long, detailed article about a ‘state-of-the-art’ packaging line project at the biggest Coca-Cola bottler in Europe. But the press release did not contain much information about the machinery, software, etc. included in the project, so I wrote back to the PR agency asking for this information as well as a lay-out drawing in order to make the article complete in my view. The answer back was quite simply that neither KHS nor CCEP wished to share this information. So, that quite unequivocally supports my conclusion above about the change of attitude towards sharing detailed technical information involved in new investment projects. Bad news for all of you out there who miss this kind of article in the SBR – there’s not much hope that we’ll be able to source any of those articles in the near future.

 

Other than this, we’re proud to bring you articles on a very broad array of topics in this issue of the SBR. Let me just briefly mention the history of porter and stout brewing in Scandinavia, the aroma development in barrel-aged beer, a new small ‘brewery-in-a-box’ for Nørrebro Bryghus, the history of CAMRA in celebration of this organisation’s 50th birthday, recovery of beer from lees using cross flow ceramic membrane filtration, and – finally – the latest chapter in Tim O’Rourke’s ‘Back to Basics 2’ series. Sadly, on the brink of our deadline, we also had to include an obituary, as ‘the grand old man’ in Danish specialty beer brewing, Peter Klemensen, passed away very recently.

 

Finally, our usual reminder that our offer of free subscriptions to the SBR still stands (go to https://scandbrewrev.dk/subscribe/ and sign up). So, why not tip a few friends about this offer? With more than 200 new subscribers/readers thus far, the success has made us extend this offer to last through June 2021, and we’re discussing making it permanent with the board of the DBF, our owners in Danish Master Brewers’ Guild.

 

Please remember that we at the SBR always very strongly encourage you to comment on anything at all in the magazine, incl. the editorial.  Please forward your comments to anders@kissmeyer.dk.

 

 

Anders Kissmeyer

Technical Editor

Scandinavian Brewer’s Review

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