Speaker Meeting 5th June 2017

Genevieve Upton - 7,000 years of brewing

The members of the Rotary club of Church Wilne welcomed Genevieve Upton, who is the Innovation Manager at Marston's PLC, to its speaker meeting at the Royal Oak in Ockbrook on Monday 5th June when she said there is nothing quite like the story and history of brewing.

Yes, 7,000 years ago brewing contained herbs, spices, drugs and made people feel amazing and people enjoyed the effects of the brew.

Over the next 6,000 years there were many forms of brewing but around 500 years ago it become something similar to the dark beers as we now know. At this stage the ingredients were barley, hops and water and not yeast until 150 years later. This was the time when the landowners made lots of money

Genevieve spoke about how barley was treated to make the beers darker and how the shelf life increased from 2 to 5 days.

Brewing beer in times past

A more modern approach to brewing

In 1730 a dreadful thing happened in the UK when good quality Gin was distilled and over 20 years most drinkers moved from beer to gin as it was both cheaper and much stronger. To get the beer drinker back they moved over to all drinks being served in glasses as against pewter tankers and gin was then taxed to make it more expensive beer.

Burton-upon-Trent beers looked and tasted better than anywhere else in the country and by 1800 the town had 180 breweries and the distribution changed completely using both the railways and canals. It was then that St Pancras station was built as a beer cellar to distribute Burton beers throughout the South of England. In 1830 beer was being exported to the colonies and Indian Pale Ale was born.

Bass is the first trade marked beer in the UK which was at the start of the Industrial revolution.

The ingredients for beer

Beer comes in many styles and flavours

At the end of the 19th century the average beer was 7.6% vol but this was down to an average of 3.6% during WW1. After the end of WW1 the Americans introduced prohibition which lasted for 13 years until they needed tax when the Great Depression hit the US

Other subjects Genevieve covered included the development of lager, the demise of cask beer, the formation of CAMRA some 40 years ago and in 1990 there were just 28 breweries and now that figure is 1,900

In summary she said "There has never been a more exciting time make and taste the quality you can ever imagine"

The club's vote of thanks was given by Patrick Bevan who was delighted that brewing was very British and had influenced beers throughout the world. A great heritage for the UK and it was a truly fantastic talk.

For more information on Rotary, our speaker evenings, events and the main activities organised by our club please contact our Secretary, Mick White at: rccw1220@gmail.com

Ray Terry
For the Rotary Club of Church Wilne

8th May 2017


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