For the past two or three years I have subscribed to an excellent magazine entitled "Beers of the World". This full colour, glossy magazine does exactly what it says on the cover, namely it carries features and articles on beers from both around the world, as well as those from the UK. It is published once every couple of months, and my only real criticism is the way the publishers send out reminders for renewal of subscriptions several months before they are actually due.
This aside, Beers of the World is a really interesting read, and features contributions from several well-known and distinguished writers, including Roger Protz, Jeff Evans, Des de Moor and Zak Avery. Its pedigree therefore is second to none, and I always look forward to its arrival on my doormat. Imagine my shock then when the August/September issue arrived a couple of weekends ago, and what looked like a flyer fell out. I nearly threw it away, but on reading it I was informed that the current issue would be the last, as the magazine will in future only be available on line. Readers were offered either the choice of changing their subscriptions over to the magazine's sister publication, "Whisky of the World", or a refund on any money remaining.
I phoned their helpline and chose the latter, but not before I'd vented my strong disapproval at the publisher's decision. (Apparently I wasn't the only caller to do so!) Unfortunately the poor girl on the other end of the line knew precious little about why this decision had been taken, but I suspect it's probably due to falling advertising revenues and the high costs of printing and distribution. I was talking about this to some colleagues the other day, and it transpires that several other magazines have gone down the same road; all have sunk without a trace! The main conclusion we all reached though, and one that the publishers so far seem to have missed, is that people primarily read magazines to relax. Sitting in one's favourite armchair, with a cup of coffee, or better still glass of beer, whilst flicking through the pages of an interesting magazine, is both calming and restful. Trying to do the same thing hunched over a computer screen just isn't the same! OK I know that these days you can carry a small lap-top around with you, but sitting on a train, or waiting for a bus what is easier? messing around with a computer, or just pulling a magazine out of ones bag or back pocket? I know what I'd rather do.
On a closing note I feel particularly sorry for Beers of the World editor, Sally Toms, who along with her editorial team has done an excellent job with this magazine. She writes in her last editorial about how she has been with the publication right from the start, and how much she has enjoyed visiting breweries, sampling new beers, judging at competitions, and above all just meeting the really nice people that, on the whole, work in the brewing industry. I wish you well Sally, in whatever venture you are up to next, and if our paths ever cross it would be nice to enjoy a couple of beers together.