Iconic American Candy – Part 1

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“Two countries separated by a common language” is an expression widely attributed to the author, George Bernard Shaw sometime in the 1940’s. This is applicable to many elements of US/UK life, none more so than in the area of confectionary.

Whilst many people raised in the UK at any point in the last fifty year will have a more than a passing familiarity with the English sweets featured in our previous post – see our previous post here – Iconic English Sweets – Part 1 I suspect that there may only be a few Brits who will have any emotional bond to those iconic candies (obviously not “sweets”) hailing from the US including Hersey Bars, Tootsie Rolls, Life Savers or Milk Duds.

I recently saw a store on London’s Oxford Street – the Tottenham Court Road end – that sells nothing but US candy and US versions of known and lesser known cereals like Golden Grahams, Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms. We are familiar with these brands from their presence, to some extent, on our supermarket shelves but also from holidays to the US and strategic product placement in, particularly Hollywood-made films.

Why not try a pack of Lucky Charms or Fruit Loops by clicking the following AMAZON links

General Mills Lucky Charms Extra Value Size 453 g (Pack of 2)

Kelloggs Froot Loops Regular Size Usa Version 345 g

I wanted to major on a few iconic US candy brands to tug at a nostalgic sweet teeth of our US readers but I also wanted to help raise the profile of certain iconic US brands to a wider international audience.

Hershey Bars 

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Like many slightly cockeyed views of those products that made the US great, in Europe we have an embedded view of Hershey as having gained prominence from the kitbag of US Military GI’s.

The success story – and there were previous failures – goes back to 1886 when Milton Snavely Hershey founded a successful caramel making business, Lancaster Caramel, in rural Pennsylvania. The business grew rapidly and exported, particularly to the UK, where an early connection with a British importer had proved fruitful.

The World Columbian Exhibition of 1893 had sparked in Hershey a desire to make chocolate and in 1894 the first product bearing the Hershey name – Hershey’s Cocoa – was launched.

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In 1900 Milton sold the Lancaster Caramel business – for $1m – in order to concentrate on chocolate production, launching Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars the same year. A year previous he’d developed the Hershey process that made excellent milk chocolate economically from the excellent raw materials – particularly local milk – available in their rural setting. In 1907 he introduced the small foiled wrapped cones of chocolate “Hershey’s Kisses” – a staple for US Valentine’s Day.

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Hershey was raised a Pennsylvanian Mennonite (whose Protestant forbears had hailed from Friesland in the Netherlands) and was a noted philanthropist. In the early 1900’s Milton starting building model towns, schools and leisure amenities for his workers and the local community. Even during the Great Depression, Hershey commissioned substantial building projects in the company town of Hershey, PA.

By the late 1920’s a US staple “S’mores” – a combination of biscuit, Hershey’s chocolate and marsh mallow – became increasingly popular.

The majority of chocolate used in Military rations are made by the Hershey Company. Between 1940 and 1945, over 3 billion of the D ration (that includes six squares of chocolate) and Tropical Bars were produced and distributed to the military. By the end of hostilities the Hershey Company were producing 24m ration bars a week.

Milton died on 13th October 1945. He and wife, Kitty, were childless so their efforts in establishing schools and assisting local families were their lasting legacies. In 1918, three years after his wife’s death, Hershey transferred all of his shares in the Hershey Company – then thought to be then worth around $60m and now valued at around $12bn – to the Milton Hershey School Trust fund, the school that he and Kitty had established in 1909 primarily for local children in need. The school continues to be one of the best funded secondary schools in the US.

The Hershey Company produced Rolo and Kit Kat for Nestle in the US as a result of perpetuity agreements entered into with Rowntree’s in 1978.

Milton and Kitty had spent the winter of 1911 in Nice (France) and Milton needed to return to the US. The Titanic was to sail on 10th April 1911 on its maiden voyage and a cheque bearing Hershey’s signature for $300 payable to the Titanic’s operator, the White Star Line, drawn on the Hershey Trust Company demonstates Milton’s intention to travel aboard. For some reason he elected to return earlier to the US and sailed on 6th April 1912 aboard the SS Amerika.

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Try the iconic Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar By clicking the following AMAZON link

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Hershey Milk Chocolate Giant Bar 198 g (Pack of 3)

You may also like to try Hershey’s Kisses – they are delicious – Valentine’s Day anyone?

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Hershey’s Kisses (1.13kg)

Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie Roll are a sort of cross between toffee (or taffy in US) and chocolate that were first patented in the US in 1907 and launched in September of 1908.

In 1896, founder and inventor, Leo Hirschfield, who named his iconic product after his daughter Clara’s nickname, had established for his employers, Stern & Staalberg, a small New York City based candy store. Leaving the business in unexplained circumstances in 1920 and later in 1922, sadly, committed suicide.

The company was acquired in 1935 by Bernard D Rubin – of Joseph Rubin and Sons Tootsie Rolls packaging supplier. Rubin moved the company to larger premises in Hoboken (New Jersey). He died in 1948 having hugely increased the businesses value. His brother, William, succeeded him as President until 1962 when his daughter Ellen Gordon took over. Her late husband Melvin was Chairman and CEO for many years. The business became Tootsie Roll Industries in 1966 and has a world-wide market with around 64m Tootsie Rolls being made daily.

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Why not enjoy some classic candy for your family – see the following AMAZON links

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Tootsie Roll Midgees 184 g (Pack of 4)

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TOOTSIE ROLL JAR – 96 BARS (14G EACH BAR) – RETRO AMERICAN CANDY

Life Savers

Life Savers are an iconic US brand of circular hard candy – deriving their name from the life-belts used on boats – and are available in, primarily, mint and fruit flavours that are wrapped in waxed paper and aluminum foil rolls. The product was invented in 1912 by Clarence Crane of Cleveland (Ohio) and was intended as an alternative to chocolate, in that they would not melt.

Crane sold his “Pep-O-Mint” trademark and formula to Edward Noble in 1913 for $2,900 who established the Life Savers and Candy Company. In 1919, Noble’s brother developed machinery to mass produce the candies that had previously been made by hand. He sold the tubes of Pep-O-Mint Life Savers for a nickel – 5 cents. Tinfoil rolls were replaced by aluminum rolls in 1925. By the same year, as a result of progress in manufacturing technology the “whole in the middle” first appeared in the fruit candy.

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Production was moved to Port Chester (New York) and a custom designed and dressed building with Life Saver images was constructed. Production took place at Port Chester between 1920 and 1984.

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The first five-flavours roll was launched in 1935. Edward Noble ran the business for more than forty years until the late 1950’s when he sold it to the Squibb Corporation.  In 1981, Nabisco Brands Inc. acquired Life Savers from the E.R. Squibb Corporation and in 2004, the US Life Savers business was acquired by Wrigley’s a division of Mars from 2008.

In 1947 Rowntree’s (Nestle) in the UK, a former licensed manufacturer of Life Savers, launched a similar product, the “Polo” mint resulting in an ongoing trade mark dispute.

Try some iconic US candies here by clicking the following AMAZON links

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5 Flavours 32 g (Pack of 6)

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Lifesavers Wint O Green Bag 177 g (Pack of 2)

Altoids

An advert for a business in the 1990’s – I think it was Hanson Trust –  had the tag line was “a Company From Here Doing Rather Well Over There”. The same could be said for the London based 1780’s creation of Altoids made by Smith & Company – later to become the famed toffee brand of Callard and Bowser – now part of Mars – in the 19th century.  Altoids are still one of the top selling mint brands in the US market.

The Altoid slogan “The Original Celebrated Curiously Strong Mints”, referencing the strength of peppermint oil used in the original lozenge is still displayed prominently on its packaging tins.

In the 1920’s the now iconic Altoid tin replaced previous cardboard packaging. The tins have become highly collectible and have – aside from the obvious hobby uses for storing screws and nails – doubled as survival tins, been the customized home for small personal computers and even emergency cooking pots for those stranded in snow.

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Production was moved from Bridgend in South Wales to Chattanooga Tennessee to be closer to its prime market.

Try Altoids – they are really very good – by clicking the following AMAZON link

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Altoids Curiously Strong Peppermints 50 g (Pack of 12)

Milk Duds

It appears that the entire US candy market – and now a word from our sponsor – is “Brought to you in Association with Hershey”! Milk Duds are a chocolate-covered caramel drop and another Hershey product.

The perhaps unusual name comes the large amount of milk used in their production and the word “dud” apparently came as a result of employee’s reactions to the original aim of having a perfectly round chocolate-covered product that was proving impossible to create.

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Milk Duds were first created in 1926 by Sean le Noble of Chicago. In 1928, Holloway took over production from Le Noble & Company. In 1960, Beatrice Foods acquire Holloway and in 1986 Leaf purchased Milk Duds which in turn was acquired in 1996 by Hershey Foods Corporation.

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Hershey’s Milk Duds Candy 85 g (Pack of 6)

Reese’s Pieces

Yet another Hershey brand which was acquired in 1963 following the death of founder Henry Burnett Reese in 1956, the businesses was founded in 1923. Reese who’s signature “Peanut Butter Cups” are a favourite in the US was inspired when he worked for Milton Hershey as a shipping forman to start out on his own. The stock-for-stock merger now values the Reese family interest in Hershey as worth $1.8bn which in 2017 delivered an annual dividend of $42m.

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I had a business colleague in the mid-1980 who loved Reese’s Pieces and her luck was in as we had frequent US visitors who would be greeted with a cheery “Got any Reese’s Pieces?” on their arrival in London. For the sanity of all they would often dig deep into huge JFK Duty Free carrier bags and off load onto my colleagues desk!

If you ask an English child to combine Peanut Butter and Chocolate their grimace may suggest that their response is confused. Why would you do that? In the US – and increasingly the UK – everything from a Kit Kat, Twix and Snicker’s bars are now available in Peanut Butter flavour. Even bespoke chocolatiers now cover nuts and toffee with “salted caramel” – after all that’s the core connection between the Peatnut Butter and the Chocolate is saltiness.

Reese’s Pieces and their many variants of this now classic combination are highly successful. Why not satiete your curiosity with a bumper box from Reese’s click this AMAZON link:

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Reeses American Candy Gift Hamper | Peanut Butter Chocolate Selection | Assortment Includes Peanut Butter Cups Pieces Sticks Nut Bars Miniatures | 18 Items in Retro Sweets Gift Box

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Image Credits – The Hershey Company, Tootsie Roll Industries, Mars and Kellogg’s

International Geophysical Year

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Over the recent holidays, I was listening to Donald Fagen’s “The Nightfly” album from October 1982, his first since splitting “Steely Dan”. The first track on this iconic and multi-award winning solo album is “I.G.Y. (What A Beautiful World)”.

One of the amazing things about today’s tech is rather than spending ages locating your nearest library – that may be closed as its a Bank Holiday – the world of information afforded by the internet is a button away.

Nightfly

Get your copy of album by clicking this AMAZON link here The Nightfly

Fagen was born 10th January 1948 and graduated in 1969 from Bard College in upper New York State, had a childhood love of late night radio – thought to be the genesis of The Nightfly – born out of a certain dissatisfaction with his suburban upbringing. His family had moved to Kendall Park, New Jersey around 1958.

I.G.Y referred to International Geophysical Year, an eighteen month long celebration, ending on 31st December 1958, of scientific renaissance in the relationship between East and West. A post Cold War collaboration comprising the participation of sixty-seven countries – with the notable exception being the People’s Republic of China – in the fields of Earth science, Gravity, Geo-Magnetism, Meteorology, Oceanography and Ionospheric Physics. the organisation was presided over by Marcel Nicolet, a noted Belgian Physicist.

To celebrate IGY both the US and Soviet Union announced their intentions to launch unmanned satellites, respectively the Explorer 1 (from a team headed by Wernher von Braun) and Sputnik 1. Sputnik 1’s launch on 4th October 1957 was seen as a Soviet victory and ignited the “Space Race” leading to the creation of NASA on July 29, 1958.

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Much of the data collection made during the IGY is still in use and it lead to a more responsible management of particularly Antarctic environmental resources.

2018 represents not only Donald Fagen’s 70th birthday, on 10th January, but it also commemorates the 60th anniversary of I.G.Y. something of a testament to international co-operation and an optimism for a safer and more collaborative future.

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For our friends living in the US Live Nation have just announced that between May and July 2018 Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers will be co-headlining a North American Tour – enjoy!

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Image Credits with thanks: Warner Bros.

Hergé’s “Adventures of Tintin”

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Should you find yourself in London’s South Kensington next to the Underground station on the pedestrian-only Thurloe Street there’s is a small remnant of a larger art gallery chain called “The Medici Gallery”. There used to be a larger sister gallery over several floors in Cork Street (Mayfair) but with the pressure on property and the need to accommodate the Hedge Fund community, the business model of The Gallery was sadly unsustainable. The streets of Mayfair W1 are the sadder for its loss but SW7 still counts the Gallery as a treasured neighbour.

The Gallery is a throve of entirely appropriate greetings cards, thoughtful gifts and at Christmas it has a wall in the rear of the gallery space devoted to fine German advent calendars with small pictures concealed behind perforated and numbered squares – no wrapped chocolate surprise needed. The balance of gallery space is taken up with prints from fine artists, some local and the framed covers of the books depicting the iconic “The Adventures of Tintin”.

Many UK homes have basements, attics, snugs and Man Caves where the walls are decked with a combination of painted adverts for motor races, rail travel, skiing or beach scenes from a bygone era intended to entice Edwardian tourists to visit. In similar locations the framed posters of Tintin’s adventures featuring the brightly coloured graphics and highly engaging and recognisable characters have found a home.

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Many will be familiar with the imagery of the characters, Tintin – a young Belgian reporter, Snowy, his terrier – called “Milou” in the earlier French language versions – the cynical Captain Haddock, the brilliant and partially deaf Physicist, Professor Calculus and the bumbling detectives Thomson & Thomson. Despite more recent accusation of racism, these charming storybooks were first published against a background of the rise of the Nazis and latterly their occupation of much of Europe.

George Remi – known by the pen name “Hergé” – was born in Belgium in 1907 and between 1929 and his death in 1983 wrote 23 Tintin books. He was completing a 24th entitled “Tintin and the Alp-Art” at the time of his death that was posthumously published in 1986.

It is said that sales of the books exceeded 250m copies and the books were translated into more than 75 languages.

Tintin first appeared on 10th January 1929 in a children’s supplement to the Brussels’ newspaper “Le Vingtième Siècle” for whom Remi worked as an illustrator. The Nazi occupation of Belgium forced the closure of his employer and Le Soir started to serialise the cartoon strip. In 1950 frustrated by the demands of employment Hergé established “Studios Hergé” which was disbanded on his death.

Great characterisation, expressive drawing, adventure and simple humour combined with a more sophisticated satire and socio-political critique has ensured that the “Adventures of Tintin” have charmed readers for many years. The primary coloured graphics, elaborately researched stories and instantly recognisable layout and text has ensured continuity across the stories and has preserved an enduring affection for the cast amongst old and young reader.

The intellectual property in Hergé’s work passed to his foundation on his death and the underlying copyrights and associated merchandising rights have continued to be of great value. Plays, TV series, films and video games have been made based on Tintin’s exploits. Magazine and retail outlets have bolstered the Foundations earning to great success.

The Foundation has received many awards for Tintin. In 2006, the Dalai Lama presented Tibet’s Light of Truth Award to the Foundation in memory of Tintin and the impact of “Tintin in Tibet”.

If you’d like to buy a collection of the 23 Tintin story books published during Hergé’s life please click the following AMAZON link The Tintin Collection (The Adventures of Tintin – Compact Editions)

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If you’d like to buy the final Tintin story “Tintin and the Alph-Art” – as started by Hergé please click the following AMAZON link Tintin and Alph-Art (The Adventures of Tintin)

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Having read the books you may want to add to your poster collection with the following three iconic posters – click the Amazon link that follows to buy them

Tintin poster – Objectif lune

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Tintin poster – Le Crabe au Pinces d’Or

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Tintin poster – Les Cigars de Pharaoh

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Rather than the expense of using a framing service why not select the following perfect frames to display your posters by clicking the AMAZON link

GB eye Eton Frame, Black, 50 x 70 cm

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Image Credits with thanks: The Hergé Foundation

AesthetIcons – Happy New Year

Targa 2018

For this, my 250th AesthetIcons’ post and first of the New Year, I am going to be a little self indulgent, introspective and, perhaps, somewhat overly analytical. Many of you will have read my praises of the “aesthetic” and the “iconic” – often both – but I want to regroup in order to further develop Aestheticons.com.

What may be aesthetic and/or iconic, is probably in the eye of the beholder. Clearly, it’s primarily subjective. Indeed, I am happy that not all of us with love the same designs. Conversely, it is entirely possible to appreciate something that we don’t particularly like. The Toyota Prius, whilst I recognise it may be iconic – in a curiously evolutionary way – it’s just not particularly aesthetic!

Not all will appreciate my almost clinical devotion to the products produced for over seventy years by the Stuttgart based Porsche AG, from the earliest incarnations of the 1950’s with 356 to the most recent iterations of the Porsche Targa. To me, Porsche cars are the very definition of what is both Aesthetic and Iconic.

Porsche 356

The use over many hundreds of years of Icons by the Russian Orthodox religion gives us much of the substance to our present day usage of the expression – although the etymological root of the word itself comes from the Greek “eikōn” meaning “image”. Whether worship of icons is entirely sound is a matter of personal faith but they do present a focus for devotion.

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The word “iconic” is often used in the media as short-hand for “famous”. Is David Beckham an “icon” – possibly – he was certainly was an amazing footballer who is now using his brand equity for commercial and philanthropic purposes. Coco Chanel, the originator of the Little Black Dress and the wonderful No. 5 perfume, is often described as an icon and her creations are equally titled. She also very ably ticks the box that spells ”Aesthetic”.

Kim Kardashian is described as having her own “Aesthetic” aside from her charms I struggle to see this as being more than “style”. This may result from the relationship between the host of a Twitter or Instagram account and their legion of followers, who, sadly, are unlikely to ever see yet alone meet their icon! For me Aesthetic is adjacent to “Art”. Essentially, the viewer’s reaction that confirming the objects status – again entirely subjective.

It seems that an adopted definition of an “Icon” is that the subject acquires its title through familiarity, use and enjoyment, especially, over a number of years.

Whilst New York’s Chrysler Building – see our previous post here Chrysler Building, New York City– or the Guggenheim Museum – see our previous post here Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and London’s Battersea Power Station – see our previous post here Battersea Power Station are undisputed icons of world architecture and they enjoy substantial praise for their aesthetic values. Is it time alone that has cemented these giants into the public’s consciousness, appreciation and nostalgia? Can London’s The Shard by Renzo Piano, The Gherkin by Foster and Shuttleworth or Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao see our previous post here Guggenheim Museum Bilbao hope to stand shoulder to shoulder with these masterpieces? Obviously yes, but it is much more than a question of  merely adding time.

It seems that there are certain icons that are loved and cherished that fail, taking their brand equity with them. Some of the familiar brands that have disappeared recently include: The US airline, once the emblem of the “Jet Set” international travel, Pan Am collapsed into bankruptcy in 1994. Hummer, once the Schwarzenegger of SUVs, in 2008 General Motors sensing the end of the road for conspicuous consumption tried to sell the brand but due to a lack of commercial interest in 2010 the doors were shut. Woolworths, the Home of Pic’N’Mix, largely due to the 2007 Credit Crunch, filed for Administration in November 2008, closing all stores within a couple of months. Athenasee our previous post here – Tennis Girl and Friends – founded in 1964, the home of student poster decoration, entered administration in 1995.

Some truly iconic brands have been saved and thrive, evolving into new markets whilst ensuring the continued affection of fans. These include: Falcon Enamel Wear see our previous post here – Falcon Enamelware Bugatti was founded in 1909 by Ettore Bugatti, following years at the leading edge of motor racing the factory was bombed in WWII and with Bugatti’s death the business was eventually acquired by Volkswagen in 1990s today producing £2.0m supercars. Moleskinesee our previous post here – Moleskine Notebook the original manufacturer, a France-based family, ceased production in 1986 following the death of its principal. The brand was very successfully revived eleven years later by Italian publisher Modo & Modo.

I am particularly determined to revive – see our previous post here – Woods & Sons “Beryl Ware” crockery – quite simply the most familiar crockery that you have known for years, as used in all manner of cafes and, I suspect, you’d love to own. Do you remember the Husky Quilted Jackets? Loved by English Princesses and Milanese businessmen – with the corduroy collar and cuffs that came in fire-engine red, marine blue and Hunter welly’s green – see our previous post here – Hunter Green Wellington Boots My research has shown the brand was acquired in a corporate buy-out but I challenge you to find a new Husky jacket.

My interests in the Aesthetic and Iconic are unlimited by genre, item or product type. There are the new and old, the familiar and less familiar. As we evolve, our core philosophy remains constant – to celebrate beautiful things. We will continue to curate and to introduce our audience to iconic designs. I relish the journey!

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Image Credits with thanks: Porsche AG, Volkswagen, Falcon Enamel Wear, Hunter Wellingtons, Moleskine, Tudor Watches, Chanel.

Aestheticons’ Guide to Iconic European Beers – Part 2

Beer A

I am very excited by the growth of Craft Beers. The very name suggests the image of a ruddy faced and smocked farmer sucking on an ear of wheat but nothing could be further from the truth. These start ups that have emerged from the micro-brewing scene are many well capitalised business making amazing products.

The ethos of the craft brewer is not at all at odd with those beautifully crafted European beers that have seen international success.

In our second appreciation – see our first guide here – Aestheticons’ Guide to Iconic European Beers – Part 1 of some of Europe finest and most iconic beer I have highlighted those beautiful beers that stand strong to the noble tradition of brewing.

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BrewDog: I was in a bar in Camden North London about two years ago with an old friend – and a very successful entrepreneur – from the music business. He suggested a pint of Dead Pony Pale Ale. Indeed a delicious pint, but it was the usual branding and obviously compelling punk attitude that required a deeper sampling of this recent UK beer brand.

Founded by James Watt and Martin Dickie in Scotland in 2007. In 2011 they raised £2m by via crowdfunding and by October 2015 production had risen to 2.2m bottles and 400,000 cans. Their first bar was opened in 2010 in Aberdeen and their fourth being the bar in Camden – many others world-wide have followed. By April 2017 22% of the business was sold for £213m to The Shansby Group (TSG), a US based private equity firm housed in the iconic Transamerica Pyramid building in San Francisco (CA.).

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By mid 2017 the canned Punk IPA became one of the regular house pours on EasyJets European services – an accolade for sure.

Hope you will support this fabulous new movement in UK brewing? If you’d like to try a mixed case from BrewDog hit this Amazon link:
BrewDog: Headliner Mixed Case, 12 x 330 ml

Pelforth

Pelforth Brune: French beers are typically “blonde” and have many refreshing qualities. However, on colder autumn/winter days with a warming bowl of Cassoulet – a delicious traditional white haricot beans and pork stew – a delicious accompaniment is a glass of deep brown Pelforth. Its has a rich caramel aroma and profound, almost sweet, flavours for a brown beer.

Founded in Lille (Northern France) in 1921 the three local brewers, Louis Boucquey, Armand Deflandre and Raoul Bonduel, joined forces. By 1937 Jean Deflandre, Armand’s son, used high fermentation, two malts of barley and English yeast to create a beer that he called “Pelforth 43”. Why? Based on Pelican – as seen on the bottle – the French word for “strong” – “fort”. “43” refers to 43kg of barley required to produce a hectolitre of the beer – it also happens to be the name of the local infantry regiment. 

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Following various mergers and acquisitions Pelforth became part of Heineken in 1988.

I highly recommend that you try a Pelforth Brown, particularly if you like a typical mild beer – there is much in common. If that appeals please click the following AMAZON link:
Pelforth brown 6.5 ° 65 cl – 6 x 65 cl

Franks Weiss

Franziskaner Weissbier: Is a wheat/white beer – is a deep, complex and flavoursome beer – produced by the Bavarian brewing giant Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu GmbH.

The brewers origins can be traced to the late 14th century and the name derives from the German for “Franciscan” as their was a monastery diagonally opposite the original brewery. The Friar was first used as a logo in 1909. In 1922 the breweries of Spaten and Franzikaner merged.

In 1964, the Spaten-Franziskaner brewery brewed its first wheat beer. By 1984 Franziskaner Weissbier became available by export. By 2003 the brewery was selling 1m million hectolitres annually. It is claimed that Franziskaner Weissbier is now the world’s favourite wheat beer.

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In 2004 following a merger with Lowenbrau the business was acquired by brewing giant Interbrew – now Anheuser-Busch Inbev.

So you missed Munich’s world famous “OktoberFest” in September this year. Why not try a few bottles of Franziskaner Weissbier at home by clicking the following AMAZON link:
Franziskaner Weissbier Beer, Case of 12

Fullers

Fullers London Pride: Fuller’s London Pride has alway been proud that it is “Made in London”. It is in fact the UK’s best selling cask-conditioned ale and is sold worldwide in bottles. Its a deep and very flavourful ale that was first brewed at Fuller’s Chiswick (West London) Thames-side based Griffin Brewery in 1959.

The name for this fine beer stems from the early 1940’s when a flower, colloquially called “London Pride” (Saxifraga x urbium) – a perennial flowering plant – was noted as blooming on bomb sites around London left by the Blitz. The symbolism of the flower, its reliance and the resolve of Londoners to resist the misery of the War years was celebrated by Fullers.

In 1979 and 1995 at the Campaign For Real Ale Awards London Prised won Champion Beer of Britain in the Best Bitter Class. Since 2007 it has been the official beer of the London Marathon.

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One of the finest ways to enjoy a pint of Pride is at the Fuller’s owned pub in Hammersmith, “The Dove”, with its wide terraces overlooking the River Thames. It’s said to be where Charles II dined with his mistress, Nell Gwynne, and has been owned by local brewer, Fuller, Smith & Turner, since 1796.

Like many other Londoners why no “Take Pride” by clicking the following AMAZON link:
Fullers London Pride Premium Ale – 12 x 500ml

Youngs Bitter

Youngs Bitter: Progress is often a bitter pill best enjoyed with a pint of Youngs’ fine bitter. A real pint of bitter that results from many years of brewing tradition.

Since the 1550 the Ram pub has been recorded on the site of the former Youngs’ brewery in Wandsworth (South West London). The Ram was purchased in 1831 by co-founders Charles Allen Young and Anthony Fothergill Bainbridge. In 2006 the last chairman of Young & Co, John Young – a direct descendent of Charles – agreed to sell the site for re-development ending over five hundred years of brewing tradition. Sadly, Mr Young died shortly after the sale and a final brew from the Ram’s Brewery was served at his funeral.

For many years I recall seeing the Young & Co brightly coloured shire-horse drawn drays delivering beer to the local area around South West London.

Youngs Dray

Since 2006 the brewing of Youngs’ beers, to service its licensed trade – including as of August 2017, 177 managed pubs and 74 tenanted houses in the area – and its off license business was transferred to a new business – a joint venture between Charles Wells Brewery that operates from the Eagle Brewery in Bedford. Wells have subsequently acquired full control of this joint venture.

Young & Co is still based in Wandsworth. In 2007 the company moved to a new head office around the corner from the former brewery site.

As part of the 2013 redevelopment plans for the site, there is a commitment for the Ram’s historic buildings to be retained and restored to include a micro-brewery and preservation of the bank of the River Wandle that passes through the site.

I have several favourite Youngs Pubs in London. “The Guinea” in Bruton Place is perhaps the home of the finest steak in London. “The Fox and Anchor” in Charterhouse Street where you once could enjoy an early morning pint with the porters of Smithfield market and the recently refurbished “The County Arms” in Trinity Road, Wandsworth is a delightful evening local.

If you cannot get to one of the above fine pubs – or many of Young’ others – why not try the dray deliveries from AMAZON by clicking the following link: Young’s Bitter – 12 X 500ml

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So sorry to our international readers as the AMAZON links are UK only.

Images courtesy of the Brewers

Battersea Power Station

BPS 1

City skylines usually evolve by way of demolition, often to the regret of the local population. I am delighted to say that the iconic Battersea Power Station is being  restored and integrated into an exciting riverside development.

For those who have never visited London but have only ever seen the great city as depicted in mid-last century’s movies they would believe that a “peasouper” – a dense fog that ground London to a wheezing halt – was typical.

BPS telegraph

Sadly, meteological conditions alone were not entirely responsible for the London’s fogs, the unabated burning of fossil fuels, particularly coal, was a major contributor. London’s  Great Smog of 1952 led to the 1956 Clean Air Act.

BPS art

Battersea Power Station is a decommissioned coal fired power station – that burned around 1m tons of coal annually – located on London’s south bank at Nine Elms. It was designed Sir Giles Gilbert Scott – the designer of London’s famous red-telephone boxes – and built of brick. It comprises two buildings: A Station – containing many Art Deco influences including Italian marble and parquet floors – was being built in the 1930s and B Station – slightly to the East – was built Post WWII in the austerity of 1950s.

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In 1983, as direct response to the need for more careful environmental management the station ceased to generate electricity thus leading to a nearly thirty-five year long struggle to maintain the stunning Grade II listed building whilst trying to decide what and who should be entrusted with its future.

BPS interior

Various attempts were been made to purchase the building with a view to redeveloping the site. In 1983 it was thought that a Theme Park might be a bright idea, planning permission was granted in 1986 and work stared including the removal of the roof. Costs rose astronomically and development was halted in 1989. In 1993 a Hong Kong based consortium started a decade long journey to try to develop the site. Further attempts in 2004 stalled and a sale in 2006 collapsed when loans were called in.

In 2012  a Malaysian consortium purchased with the restoration of the Grade II Power Station as a centre piece. A combination of  shops, leisure facilities and office space would sit alongside residential homes and a new Northern Line tube extension. Construction commenced in 2013 with an intended completion in 2017. The Northern Line extension will take until 2020, with Frank Gehry – see previous post – Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Foster & Partners being appointed joint architects of this latter stage.

New BPS

In September 2016, Apple announced plans to relocate 1,400 employees to the station by 2021.

Battersea Power Station is not only a world famous London landmark it has appeared in many films including Albert Hitchcock’s “Sabotage” (1936) – before B Station was built, The Beatles’ “Help”, Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life” and the 2007 Batman movie “The Dark Night”.

Perhaps the most celebrated artistic uses of Battersea Power Station was on the cover photo of Pink Floyd’s “Animals” album in 1977 which was loosely based on George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. The band’s Roger Waters commissioned artist Jeffrey Shaw and Ballon Fabrik to design, “Algie”, an inflatable pig which was tied to one of the Station’s southern chimneys. The pig broke loose and caused consternation as it drifted into Heathrow’s flightpath eventually landing in Kent.

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Buy your own copy of Pink Floyd’s “Animals” – in formats including vinyl by clicking the following AMAZON link Animals (2011 Remastered Version)
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Put an “Animals’  mug in the Christmas stocking of a Pink Floyd fan by clicking the following AMAZON link

Pyramid International “Pink Floyd (Animals)” Official Boxed Ceramic Coffee/Tea Mug, Multi-Colour, 11 oz/315 ml

Images courtesy of Pink Floyd/Jeffrey Shaw/Warner Music Group/The Telegraph

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Baseball Caps

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Frankly, whilst I love baseball caps and have several cherished examples, I don’t really think they suit me. Its like my head is the wrong shape or my ears protrude but trust me that doesn’t stop me.

I particularly like the design classic and iconic, New York Yankees cap and I have had two, both reliably sized 7 1/2 inches. Both are classic New era 59/FIFTY fitted caps (a design that dates from 1954) , with my first being purchased in the early 1980’s from a store in New York, it’s a deep boiled melton 100% wool that has gradually shrunk but stayed colour fast despite surviving ski trip snow storm. My second from the New York Yankees store off Times Square which is now 100% polyester.

For many outside the US they may not even connect the cap with baseball – where the sport is less known. The appearance of the cap, titled side ways or backwards on a rappers head, in gold or silver as an essential accessory to a cat walk show, the cap’s reach is much more than a piece of sportswear. Go ahead ask any non-affionado about Babe Ruth Joe DiMaggio or Derek Jeter.

The NY Yankees caps are often seen in the media on noted fans like Tom Cruise wearing them in movies such as in 2013’s “Oblivion”. Having been to Yankee Stadium there is every chance you’ll see celebrity fans appearing on the huge TV screens. During a recent visit preceded by the playing of “You Can Call me Al” was a smiling and cap wearing Paul Simon.

Paul Simon NY

Even the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has created, with the guys from New Era, a special limited edition (at $48.00 plus p&p) New York Yankee/MoMA cap.

Moma NY cap

The New Era Cap Company was founded in Buffalo (New York) by Ehrhardt Koch in 1920. He had borrowed $5,000 from an aunt to start on his own. Koch’s first production took place on the third floor of 1830 Genesee Street in Buffalo and in the first year 60,000 caps were made.

The first Major League Baseball (MLB) caps were first manufactured in 1934 with the first licensor being Cleveland Indians. The 59/FIFTY On-field caps first became available to the general public in 1978. In 1993, New Era were granted an MLB wide license to make all MLB teams on field caps with an equivalent deals from the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) was signed in 2012 and 2017, respectively.

NO Saints

I particularly like the NFL team, New Orlean Saints, and the “Fleur de Lys” logo on their caps. Get your own one here by clicking the following AMAZON link NFL New Orleans Saints Heather Crisp 9FORTY Adjustable Cap, One Size, Black Heather

1996 the film director, Spike Lee, specifically asked New Era for a red New York Yankees cap – not a team colour – an event that is seen as the dawn of a new era which saw the New York Yankees cap becoming associated as much with the streets as the ball park.

Spike Lee NY

Get you own New York Yankees Cap by clicking the following AMAZON link New Era Cap | 9FIFTY Snapback | New York Yankees | Navy/White (Medium – Large)

Photo credit to the New Era Cap Company