The 2023/24 edition of the drinker’s essential guide to the brewers and beers of God’s own county.
by Simon Jenkins
British Guild of Beer Writers – 2019 Adnams Award for Best Beer Writer, Regional Media, for The Yorkshire Beer Bible Second Edition.
Fully illustrated, beautifully produced hardback.
In this comprehensive and newly-updated guide to Yorkshire brewing, renowned beer writer Simon Jenkins trawls the length and breadth of Britain’s biggest (and best) county seeking out the brewers old and new, large and small, which between them have created an astonishing beer scene.
From fiercely traditional brewers producing time-honoured beers in slate Yorkshire squares, to the new-wave craft brewers embracing a dizzying variety of imported hops; from the ancient brewer hemmed in by a tight knot of cobbled streets to the brewery founded in a garden shed as a lockdown project – Simon found them all.
This entertaining journey around the county lists every brewery Simon could find – more than 180 – and chronicles the resilience which these businesses showed when faced with the pandemic and the closure of the hospitality industry. We learn about some of the very best beers the county has to offer, meet lots of the brewers, and discover the extraordinary measures which many took to survive the challenges of Covid-19.
Simon Jenkins says: On my many visits to breweries around Yorkshire over the past year, I’ve learned much about how businesses responded to these unprecedented circumstances and the many ways they adapted to survive.
Those with canning and bottling lines and healthy supermarket contracts were perhaps best insulated against the sudden closure of the on-trade. Others were forced to rapidly change tack, building on-line shopping websites, offering carry-out services from the brewery, and establishing new partnerships to package their beer. Some took Government support; many had to furlough staff.
That so many came through – albeit on a wing and a prayer – is huge testament to their ingenuity and determination, and speaks volumes for their customers’ loyalty to locally-brewed, crafted Yorkshire beer.
Even so, of the 200 or so Yorkshire brewers featured in the 2019 edition, only 150 were still trading four years later. And – just as Covid-19 seemed almost arbitrary in who it affected the most – we have lost wonderful small producers as well as some mighty beasts.
But remarkably, through this period of attrition for our industry a trickle of new contenders have emerged. Some were already in the embryonic phase before the pandemic, others forged their business model to suit the lockdown world, and are growing from there. More than 30 breweries are making their first appearance in the book.
And somehow, miraculously, the Yorkshire brewing scene seems as diverse and exciting as ever. And optimistic too, even as the costs of production spiral upwards and the storm-clouds of a global recession seem to gather on the horizon. So many of those I spoke to continue to trade with imagination and confidence; many credited the loyalty of their customers with redoubling their efforts, and galvanising their determination to pull through.
And, despite the best efforts of Covid-19, the Yorkshire brewing scene is as varied, vibrant and vigorous as ever.
Simon Jenkins is an award-winning beer writer, whose weekly column Taverner appeared in the Yorkshire Evening Post from 1992 to 2019. His first book, The Great Leeds Pub Crawl, is a lively informative ramble around the best pubs in the city. Simon has written for a host of publications in the UK and overseas, including the national magazine Beer, published by the Campaign for Real Ale. He regularly contributes to broadcast discussions on beer and brewing, has a regular slot on the Leeds Beercast podcast, and is a judge in Yorkshire’s prestigious Taste of Herriot Country Food and Drink Awards.
He has won a string of awards from the British Guild of Beer Writers, including in 2010, their highest accolade, British Beer Writer of the Year. In 2019 he won the Adnams Award for Best Beer Writer in the Regional Media, for the second edition of The Yorkshire Beer Bible.
Simon shares his passion for beer through his business itsthebeertalking.co.uk which offers tutored beer tastings and regular pub and heritage walks visiting many of his favourite haunts.
And despite all this, he is generally fairly sober.
The Yorkshire Beer Bible – 3rd Edition is published by Great Northern Books, 14th September, 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-914227-52-3; Price: £12.99; Format: Hardback; Size: 135x198mm; Pagination: 224
Available from Great Northern Books, call 01274 735056 or visit www.gnbooks.co.uk
Notes to Editors
Images available for supporting articles on request
Copies available as prizes for competitions run with articles supporting the book.
To arrange interviews with Simon Jenkins about his book, contact Great Northern Books press office -tel: 01274 735056; Email Lorraine@anjin.co.uk or david.burrill@
An image of the book cover is attached.
For use of extracts from the book, contact the Great Northern Books press office.
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