You all know that I love beer but you may not know that one of my other passions is photography. So I was delighted when we were contacted by David Colley who had written a new book with photographs by Gavin Joynt all about beer. (Full disclosure I was sent a copy of the book to review but this has not influenced my review in any way).
The book is called Brand Crafted and is a self-published volume with a limited run of just 1500. It’s a soft cover, full colour volume running to just over 200 pages. What differentiates it from a lot of other beer books in my collection is that it’s not about what beers to drink, specific styles or tasting notes but more about the brand, design and community that accompanies beer in the UK at the moment.
From my initial flick through I was struck by the number and quality of the full colour photos (even spotting some friends in some of them as well as me from the back*!). There are a number of double page ‘gallery’ spreads as well as a really good balance on each page of text, quotes and pictures. Each image supports and adds to the text on the page as well as really making me want a beer!
Once I sat down to spend some more time with the book it was clear that it had been produced by 2 guys who show a real passion and commitment to the beer community. As they say “What has driven us to create this project is a desire to capture and celebrate the creative culture and community of the craft beer movement.”
The book is split into 3 sections – Culture, Community and Creativity. There are profiles of some of our top breweries such as Verdant, Wild, Wylam and Marble as well as some bottle shops and bars. Topics covered include “Collaboration not Competition” which talks about how breweries, designers and artists work together to create beers, “Community Spirit” about the rise of tap rooms and local bars and “Beer that Looks as Good as it Tastes” covering the rise of brand and design alongside beer.
Although I have still to read the full volume I have read a number of the chapters and the style is very approachable with an easy, conversational tone which is great. As I have said earlier there is a good mix of information, quotes and anecdotes which give a really good insight into the people and breweries interviewed for the book.
The book ends with a chapter called “Embrace the Movement”, it’s a summary of the previous 200 pages and a call to arms to investigate and enjoy our beer community in all its forms. This is a lovely coffee table book that I know I will return to time and again and is a great addition to the beer book genre for both newcomers and beer geeks alike.
*If you want to try and spot me I’m on page 124 (at IMBC) – wearing a blue volunteer t-shirt near the Five Points stand!