Welcome to waterintobeer.
I’m Tim and I own the shop. Hopefully you’ve already read the history of the name, this article will hopefully give some indication of why I wanted to open a beer shop and what I hope the shop will become.
I’ve listened to punk music since I was 13 or 14. I’m not talking about the commercialised, sloganeering punk that a megalomaniacal Scottish brewery have peddled amazingly successfully to the public, but DIY punk. Like Dillinger Four, like Iron Chic, like Bear Trade, like Martha, like Bangers, like a hundred other bands plugging away doing something that they love.
I mention this as the parallels between the DIY punk community and the brewery community seem blindingly obvious to me; people helping each other out, creating networks away from the mainstream, creating inspiring ‘products’ and just being generally ace. All because of a passion for something that they love; something that they believe in, something that means something. And although most DIY punk bands won’t be able to make a living from their passion, thankfully we’re seeing independent brewers throughout the country making a living doing something they love.
As with anything that starts away from the mainstream, big profit driven companies will always circle like vultures. The American punk scene saw this in the mid 90’s and the beer scene is seeing the same thing now. The pretty recent furore over Camden Town Brewery (and more before them) ‘selling out’ rang every bell of recognition in my head with what happened back then the punk scene. It saw the same arguments; the bands will be compromised, they’ll be made to do stuff they don’t want to do, they’ll become a commodity, they won’t belong to ‘us’ anymore, they won’t be one of ‘us’, they’d sold their soul to the corporate devil.
There is of course some truth to that and just as punk isn’t always ‘just’ punk, beer is definitely not always ‘just’ beer. At waterintobeer we’ll always support independent breweries to the hilt; they are the ones who share our values and share our belief that ‘community’ is something that can be created, and can thrive away from the mainstream. Just like record labels like Fat Wreck and for a brief period Lookout! (RIP), independent breweries are now showing that they can survive and prosper on their own without any corporate help at all. It is, and hopefully always will be possible to make a living (and in some cases, an absolute killing) doing something you absolutely love.
Saying that, just like I’m not going to stop listening to Dookie by Green Day (there are always gateway bands, just like there are gateway beers) because it was on a major label, or to The Clash for god’s sake, I’m not going to turn down the opportunity to stock a great batch of Worthington’s White Shield or Camden’s Gentleman’s Wit if I’ve got any space on the shelves.
Music and beer both share similarities on how they form part of our memories. I’ll always remember Green day as forming a major part of my early teenage years, it’s why I sometimes still listen to them today. The memories some songs evoke are often tearfully beautiful. I’ll always link Thornbridge’s Jaipur to drinking with my friends in Leeds. Every time I see it on the bar I buy it, not just because of its taste, but because of those memories. Beer, like music will always form a major part of memories for me; the triggers they hit are on the things that make them amazing. I fall in love with bands and songs all the time, just like I fall in love with beers all the time. Both are always helping to create new memories.
It’s not worth getting into the real ale versus craft beer debate here, it’s as boring as people who think they listen to a better style of punk music, saying someone else’s taste in punk music isn’t actually ‘punk’ at all. It’s beer, it’s music. If the beer is good then we’ll stock it; bottle conditioned, traditional, new, whatever. If it tastes good, it will be on our shelves.
That brings me onto the homebrew section of our shop. Just like DIY punk (the moniker kind of gives it away) is all about doing everything yourself, so is homebrewing. A lot of professional brewers started out as homebrewers, just as ‘professional’ punk bands started out with three chords. Homebrewing is where it all starts so we’ll be stocking as many ingredients and equipment as we can stuff into the various receptacles and onto the shelves in the shop. We know that space can be a problem for people living in London, especially when it comes to conditioning beer, to that effect we’ll be giving over part of our storage area to homebrewers who need a stable, dark area to condition their brew.
To begin with waterintobeer won’t be selling any beer on tap (this may change in the future, dependent on customers’ requests, etc.), there’s not really any reason for this apart from that we think you should probably go to the pub; they’re more likely to have better facilities to properly keep and serve you a great draught beer. And (most) pubs are brilliant, you know. We should use them before we lose them. Saying that, it would be lovely if you stayed for a bottle in the shop with us. We look forward to seeing you for a beer, a chat and to listen to some music. Time to create some new memories.