The hot and heavy collab that's got drinkers popping their lids
Sunday 06 June 2021
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Sometimes the stars just align, and the news that one of our favourite breweries – Manchester’s Alphabet – was teaming up with one of our favourite podcasts – My Dad Wrote a Porno – was a piece of serendipity we couldn’t pass up.
For the uninitiated, My Dad Wrote a Porno is a podcast hosted by Jamie Morton, James Cooper, and Alice Levine, in which Jamie reads to his friends chapters from an erotic novella, Belinda Blinked, written by his father (under the perfectly sane nom de plume Rocky Flintstone). Its heroine, Belinda Blumenthal, is head of sales for a successful ‘pots and pans’ business; a role she executes through a combination of sexual enthusiasm and, latterly, advanced counter-espionage techniques. Five seasons in, it’s one of the world’s most popular podcasts, with more than 250 million downloads.
It’s become a tradition among the show’s more enthusiastic fans (who call themselves ‘Belinkers,’ obviously) to start and end each season with a synchronised listening party. For Season 6, starting in June, the official beer of this party is a full-blown collaboration between ‘The Trio’ and ABC, with each brew themed around a beloved piece of Belinda lore. We caught up with the brewery’s Jair Sian to ask the questions on every true Belinker’s mind.
Did you meet Rocky Flintstone and what’s he like?
“I did actually!” laughs Jair. “He was on a Zoom planning call with Jamie, Alice and James. We had no idea he was going to be there, so I couldn’t believe it when his name popped up. He was
lovely and really got behind the idea of the beers. I can’t really say more than that though – he’s an elusive figure, and we should keep it that way.”
Fair enough. One of the great appeals of the podcast is never quite knowing the extent to which the book’s author is in on the joke. From his mangled idioms to his tenuous grasp of female anatomy, Rocky certainly started out as the butt of this elaborate running gag. However, a growing school of thought – including several celebrity guests on the podcast – has pegged him as a kind of genius, and Belinda Blinked as the first truly great novel of the 21st century.
It’s a fair bet that Jair’s friend Maddi, who first suggested the whole collaboration wheeze, subscribes to this school.
“We were in the pub, having a play around with beer names as we often do,” says Jair. “Maddi had just been listening to an episode so started riffing on that, suggesting pomegranate pale ales and a load of potential puns. A couple of wines in it all seemed like a great idea, so I messaged my colleague Alex who is also a fan of the podcast. The next day, before I’d had chance to reconsider, he had emailed their agent and already gotten a positive response!”
Fortunately the whole idea proved very popular, with brewery and podcast team really hitting it off creatively.
“They were really friendly, really funny and really on board with the idea. Their main priority was that we engage with the fans on it, so we did the naming competition on social media. That was the case the whole way through the process too – they’re completely focused on the listeners and giving them something great.”
The names of the three beers will instantly ring bells with fans of the podcast, but were selected from a whole list of potential brews with equally pun-tastic monikers (ABC themselves being fond of the odd pun). Once the beers were selected, it was time for some of ABC’s own illustrative magic to round off the experience.
“Nick Hamilton aka Hammo is our illustrator for everything,” says Jair. “His illustrative style is synonymous with our branding and we would be nothing without him. For this collab, we gave him a bit of a brief that we’d work on with the MDWAP guys, then he produced some sketches with all the little references to the story, and we built them up from there.”
But will this beautiful union of beer and comedy erotica be as fleeting as a liaison in an ornamental maze, or as constant and long-lived as The Duchess?
“I would definitely be open to doing it again,” confirms Jair. “And it is something that we’ve discussed. There’s an absolute wealth of puns and great references we can tap into for inspiration. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s a match made in heaven on a hatstand; as long as Rocky keeps writing, we’ll keep brewing.”
We like to mark the start of a new podcast season by doing something special, and having three specially-brewed, Belinda-themed beers seemed like a great way to celebrate our Listening Party, where listeners globally press play at the same time and enjoy the premiere episode together. We're really pleased with how they've come out. Alphabet got into the spirit of the podcast with their beer concepts, and were great fun to work with; see if you can spot all the book references in the can labels.
– My Dad Wrote a Porno
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