In brief

05 February, 2010

l A new cider made from English conference pears has been produced by Thatchers for family brewer Hall & Woodhouse. Pearwood is the first pear cider to be marketed by Hall & Woodhouse and follows Applewood, a cider also made under contract by Thatchers.

Around 50 independent brewers competed for top titles at the SIBA National Beer Competition in Nottingham. The event brought together winners from regional heats. The 10 final winners will be announced at SIBA’s National Conference, held in Stratford-upon-Avon in March.

Fuller’s has released the latest brew of Gale’s Prize Old Ale, which has a 9% abv and is only available once a year. It is made from a blend of brews, one aged and one fresh, giving the beer a “unique flavour and character”.

Burnley brewer Moorhouse has started work on a £3.5 million expansion to treble production capacity for its Pendles Witch Brew, Blond Witch and Black Cat ales. It will double the workforce to around 50 and will include a training school and visitor centre.?

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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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