Beer Matters – from printers to pub

As a magazine that has been appearing in the pubs and clubs of the Sheffield area for many years, you may take it for granted that Beer Matters will arrive in your local each month for you to pick up a copy. However, as we celebrate our 500th edition we thought we should shine the spotlight on the talented professionals and dedicated volunteers who make this happen.

Content

The first step is to collect up all the various content for the magazine. Items such as brewery and pub news are a combination of information being picked up by various members on their travels, plus details we are sent by our local breweries and pubs. We also have articles written by our members, and I’m sure many of you will be familiar with regular contributors such as Andy Cullen, Andrew Morton, Dave Pickersgill and Dom Nelson. Most of this content, although not all, will be added to our website prior to inclusion in the magazine.

Design

This is where the first of our professional colleagues gets involved. Robin collates all the website content along with additional material and all the advertising images and turns it into the well laid-out and readable format that you see in the final magazine. Beer Matters recently reached the last four of the National CAMRA magazine of the year award, mainly thanks to Durb Robin’s skills. You may also be familiar with the other work he does for us which is the poster and flyer designs for the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival. In our opinion the last few years designs have been some of the best festival posters we have ever seen.

Printing

In the early days this consisted of a few sheets of photocopied pages being stapled together by willing branch members. However the modern version is vastly different publication, sometimes running to 40 pages. Once the magazine is laid out, and following collective proof-reading from the branch committee, it is sent to our printers, 221 Creative. A locally based company, 221 Creative have been printing Beer Matters for a couple of years now and provided a noticeable increase in quality as well as a quick turnaround from the final proof. 3500 copies of each issue are printed, and then delivered in to the Dog & Partridge for collection by the final and undoubtedly most important link in the chain.

Distributors

None of the above would matter if we didn’t have a group of willing volunteers to distribute the finished magazine to the local pubs and clubs for drinkers to enjoy. These dedicated branch members call in each month to pick up their allocated copies and then give up their free time to do the rounds of their area placing the magazines in over 100 local hostelries so that you, the reader, can be kept informed on what’s happening in the Sheffield beer scene. Beer Matters is very popular in our pubs, with some taking around 100 copies each month. As you can imagine this means some distributors are collecting and distributing large numbers of magazines, and in one case 750 copies each month! This can result in multiple trips and Sheffield CAMRA are lucky to have so many dedicated members who are willing to put in the time and effort to make sure Beer Matters is available across the area. Some of these volunteers are quite well-known locally, such as Andy Cullen, Alan Gibbons and Andy Morton, but other less so, and we felt it was time we gave them the pat on the back they deserve. So if you see one of them bringing the magazine in to your local I’m sure they would welcome a few words of thanks to let them know you appreciate their efforts.

One of our longest serving distributors is the indefatigable John Beardshaw:

“I was born in Crookes and knew all the pubs in the area and 57 years ago started drinking in them. I usually visited two or three pubs a night so when I started delivering Beer Matters it was an easy thing to take a few copies for each pub out with me. A few pubs have either been converted to flats or demolished but I still deliver to most pubs in the S10 post code area. I used to visit a few pubs in Derbyshire and the picture shows me with friends at the Old Bowling Green at Bradwell. Left to right are Edgar Blagden, Ron Nuttall, John Beardshaw and Phil Patts. Theakston’s Old Peculier was served into stoneware mugs.”

Beer Matters can also be read online at sheffield.camra.org.uk/beer-matters

If you fancy being part of our distribution team, or know of any pubs not currently receiving Beer Matters who would like to in future, please contact us at beermatters@sheffield.camra.org.uk.

Paul Crofts