I read this book over the recent holiday break and really enjoyed reading about the influence of Great Britain throughout the history of beer, wine and spirits. If you are interested in or work in the Drink Industry, then this is a must read. If not, this is still a fascinating read, full of facts backed by research.
This book came about rather unusually through the support of its readers. It was funded by them via the website Unbound.com before being released in November 2016.
It was written by Henry Jeffreys (picture below), a founder member of the London Review of Breakfasts blog, contributor to the Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury 2013) also shortlisted for Drink Writer of the Year for work in the Spectator at the 2014 Fortnum & Mason Awards. He currently writes a weekly wine column for the Lady and a weekly drink column for the Guardian called Empire of Drinks. He also writes about drinks for the Spectator, Spectator Life, timatkin.com, Jancisrobinson.com and thedabbler.co.uk and has his own blog (worldofbooze.wordpress.com).
A few facts highlighted in the book, which may or may not be well known to most – did you know that:
- Guiness Foreign Extra Stout is a direct link to the kind of beer that would have been brewed in eighteenth century London, descended from West Indies Porter (first sent to the colonies in 1801)
- Sugar from sugar beet is an essential ingredient in most French wines nowadays
- Boodles Gin is named after a gentlemen’s club in London, when they complained to Seagram (the owner at the time of the gin brand) about the use of their name, a compromise was reached: every Boodles club member receives a case of 6 bottles of the Boodles gin every year, a promise that apparently persists to this day
- The company of Irishman Aeneas Coffey, the inventor of the Coffey Still, is still in place today and has been called John Dore & Sons since 1872 (after the foreman who took over the business)
- Some famous Cognac brands are linked to the UK by their founders. Thomas Hine was from Devon, Richard Hennessy was an Irish aristocrat and Jean Martell was from Jersey
- Some of the great Champagne Houses were created by German entrepreneurs such as: Bollinger, Heidsieck, Roederer, Deutz, Mumm, Taittinger and Krug