Thursday, 3 October 2013

Gone For A Burton by Bob Ricketts

After a surprising amount of difficulty I finally got my hands on a copy of Bob Rickett's memoirs, Gone for a Burton. He spent many years in the brewing industry, starting out at the Brewing Research Foundation before moving to an engineering firm and then going to Bass, where he rose to managing director of the brewing side.

His very personal takes on the work he did, and the people he worked with are given, often very critically. As I was reading this out of interest in learning about history it's problematic that he spends so much time putting the boot in, as this makes him avoid referring to many of the characters and companies mentioned by name. He also misses out a lot of the things I would have liked to have heard about, for example although in 'about the author' it says he was President of the Institute of Brewing there is no mention of this in the rest of the book.

He also regularly disperses the text with 'notes to file' of the lessons he's learnt from the various incidents at work he recounts, which are entertaining enough but many seem no different from the dealing with the dumb decisions I'm sure you could find in any workplace.     

There was enough to keep me interested though. There's an entertaining anecdote involving Cyril Rainbow, a brewing scientist whose Horace Brown lecture I'd recently read, and it's interesting to see the author talk of how surprised people were when canned beer became cheaper than draught beer. Fascinating to see that the boss of Britain's biggest breweries has CAMRA as one of his many targets too, which seems to prove how effective they were.

Ultimately I found the book disappointing as there's more spleen than meat, but there's a few tasty titbits in there.

1 comment:

  1. That's a pretty fair assessment of the book. You may find a few nuggets in it (as you did) but it is entertainment rather than anything more profound.