Best Beer Blog

Burum Collective (gold) and Pellicle (silver)

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• • • Best Beer Blog • • •  GOLD

BURUM COLLECTIVE

Part culture blog, part networking space and part platform for activism, The Burum Collective (pronounced ‘birim’ – it’s Welsh for yeast) exploded into the UK drinks and hospitality scene last year with a level of surety that took everyone by surprise, ourselves included. It began as an extension of the truly amazing craft beverage scene in Cardiff, where the sense of community, identity and mutual support is tangible. At the heart of this community, already acting as a facilitator and de-facto leader, was Burum founder Helen Anne Smith. From day one, Burum’s community blog has put ideas first, with writing from contributors who may not be well known outside their local circles, but who bring insight and hands-on experience that more established writers sometimes lack. From this perspective alone, Burum immediately became compulsory reading at Ferment HQ.

But what started off as a relatively modest proposal to share the stories and insights of people working in beer, wine and cider has quickly become a focal point for solidarity, self-examination and change.

In the aftermath of this Spring’s spate of allegations around misogynist bullying in breweries and bars, it was Burum that stepped up to organise the Common Ground conference, pulling in figures from across the industry to discuss practical steps. And that work continues. Too often, those on the coalface of our industry are tasked with making dreams come true at any cost. Perhaps our shared culture is finally leaving its long adolescence; if so, Burum is surely the start of a collective conscience.

• • • Best Beer Blog • • •  SILVER

PELLICLE

Established in 2019 by regular Ferment writer Matthew Curtis and brewer Jonny Hamilton, Pellicle is dedicated to the intersection between booze, food, culture and travel. We’ve always viewed Pellicle as a cooler cousin to Ferment – treading markedly similar territory, but with real flair and a coterie of hip young friends in tow – so it’s been great to see it flourish over the past 12 months, taking on more staff, attracting exciting new contributors and pushing its editorial remit further than ever before.

For us, the real appeal of Pellicle is the distinctive editorial style cultivated and honed over the past couple of years. It trades primarily in first hand, lived experience, exploring its subjects in a personal, sensory, emotional way which treads (but mostly stays on the right side of) the line between honesty and self-indulgence. Particularly during 18 months in which real human contact was pulled cruelly from our culture, Pellicle was a soothing balm of other people’s lives.

Secondly, though just as important, Pellicle has stuck to a founding principle that I recall finding quite radical at the time: kindness. Next to the toxic dumping ground of rivalry and acrimony that is Beer Twitter, Pellicle has been unremittingly positive in choosing what to cover and how to cover it. This has of course meant staying quiet on some of the year’s bigger, juicier craft beer stories, but honestly we should respect them all the more for it.

Finally, Pellicle has provided another route into food and drink content creation, and has been particularly nurturing toward new voices, whether writers, illustrators or photographers. With a clear pitching guide and transparent fee structure, it has from day one set out to be fair and professional, treating collaborators with respect. This may seem like a relatively niche point, but from the reader’s point of view, I believe this philosophy shines through in every word and image.

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