No, this isn't a rant about ham-faced tory cretin Cameron, but a missive on the camaraderie amongst brewers and others in the industry when you wouldn't expect it.
You'd imagine, with more and more brewers chasing the same (or slightly more) amount of free houses and guest accounts, that brewing would be a cutthroat business with brewers holding cards very close to their chest and keeping the counsel of Homer Simpson, that is "never help anyone"; you'd be wrong.
Maybe this was the case in the past, and certain brewers I could mention still think we are in those times (and these are the same people who think you couldn't guess what's in a brown beer that tastes of toffee, twigs and grass), but the vast majority of brewers, publicans, wholesalers and others in this great industry are living the "big society" in a way which would probably make Dave C proud if we were making Claret or something equally poncy; someone's short of something or a cask needs a ride somewhere? You can bet there will be a fellow brewer who can help you out for cost or, usually, for nowt.
A few examples; in Sheffield we found out someone had used our last pack of yeast but, after a quick appeal on social media - down with the kids, innit? - one turned up the next day. Another time we found out someone had used all our shives... guess what? A few calls and 50 arrived, gratis. I could go on with tales of hops, malt, finings, caustic, space on the van for a cask to hitch a lift and suchlike being donated but I'm sure you can see what I'm gunning at here; (most) brewers are all too happy to help out a brother in need in the knowledge that, when they're in a similar situation, they'll get this good karma coming right back at them... and everyone has these moments when they urgently need something, believe me.
On that note, we're helping out a local-ish brewery this week and as Steel City, Gazza and Dave have helped many of the current crop of UK "cuckoo" brewers get started. When you think about it not a lot in brewing is secret or only you know, so you may as well be the good guy and help out the people in need as, one day, they may be in a position to help you out. Having friends in brewing is very useful and, after all, is one of the things which makes it such a great industry to be in.
As I said, we're all in it together. Almost all of us....