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Daily Archives: August 10, 2008

China commands medal table, Phelps in convincing style

Image   Czech shooter Katerina Emmons overcame a splitting headache to win the
first gold medal of the Beijing Olympics as the first full day of competition began yesterday after a dazzling opening ceremony.

But China took an early lead in the march to sports supremacy, winning two of the first seven golds when the Beijing Games began. The remaining golds were shared among the United States, Spain, the Czech Republic,
Romania and South Korea.However, it wasn’t quite the dream start the Olympics host wanted to follow the breathtaking opening ceremony the previous night. Their hopes were on a golden start with theattention-commanding first medal, but their defending champion Du Li wilted under pressure as Czech shooter Katerina Emmons came through to win with a record-breaking performance. Pang Wei made amends for China in the
shooting, taking the men’s 10m Pistol event and Chen Xiexia won the women’s 48kg weightlifting title, while Spanish cyclist Samuel Sanchez won the gruelling road race. Swimming star Michael Phelps opened his quest for Olympic immortality in convincing style, breaking the Games record in the heats of the men’s 400m individual medley. Meanwhile, an American tourist was stabbed to death by a Chinese man in Beijing.


 Pages 9, 24 to 28

Traditional British brewers beat the beer sales hangover

by Lucie Godeau*

The traditional British pint of ale is undergoing a revival, despite pub beer sales sinking to their lowest level since the 1930s Great Depression.
Long since muscled out by the mass-produced lagers of international brewing giants, the darker, less fizzy styles of beer are making a comeback.
The global credit crunch is taking effect in Britain, with the cost of living soaring. But meanwhile, Britons are becoming more environmentally conscious and seeking out more locally-sourced products, experts said.
"As people drink less beer than they used to, they also look for better, more flavoured beers. People are turning back to ales now," said David Spencer, brand manager at Fuller's, which calls itself London's last remaining traditional family brewer.
"In a year that saw the British beer market suffer such hefty decline, Fuller's actually grew its volume last year," he said, adding that its share of the total British beer market was one percent.
Beer sales in pubs have plunged by 10.6 percent compared with the same April to June quarter last year, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said last Monday.
Some 144 million fewer pints were sold in pubs, bars and restaurants, between April and June this year compared with the same three months in 2007 — a drop of 1.6 million pints per day, the BBPA said.
But at the original brick Griffin Brewery in west London's smart Chiswick neighbourhood, Fuller's, established in 1845, is upbeat.
Beer has been brewed on the site, nestled between the River Thames and the junction of the main roads linking London with the south coast and the west, for more than 350 years.
Production has been modernised, with stainless steel casks and kegs replacing wooden barrels, and an average daily brew of London Pride, Fuller's flagship bitter, now produces 184,320 pints (104,742 litres).

We are seeing a resurgence of English ales

Workers carry out just a small number of duties, such as adding hops to the brew, while a laboratory tests the consistency and quality of the various beers produced.
"We are seeing a resurgence of English ales and English cask ales, because people are looking for more personality and character in their beer," said Fuller's head brewer John Keeling.
The Great British Beer Festival, an annual celebration of real ale, kicks off Tuesday at the giant Earls Court exhibition centre in west London.
More than 450 different traditional beers — reputedly the widest range at any beer festival in the world — will be available at the five-day event, which always attracts tens of thousands of thirsty punters.
Before World War II, local ale was the staple alcoholic drink of the British working man.
Served at a warmer temperature than lager, flatter and sometimes badly kept and going off, Britons gradually abandoned ale and started supping the lager being promoted by the powerful international brewers.
"Lager is a generation thing," said Iain Loe, researcher and spokesman for the Campaign for Real Ale.
"People were enamoured of this new beer style, that was sold in flashy cans. It was served colder. You never had a bad pint but you never had a good pint. So people flocked to it.
"And maybe women saw it as more glamorous than a pint of real ale.
"But things are changing," he added.
"Sales are falling because four global breweries have more than 80 percent of the UK beer market and all they seem to produce these days are global beer brands that you'll find anywhere in the world, so it's very boring.
"The only breweries that seem to be brewing more beer now than before, that are seeing their sales rise, are the smallest breweries.
"There are 600 (microbreweries) in the UK and 35 family brewers. This sector of the market is very active."
But they still face a battle to get a pump on many bars, as several pubs are tied to either a pub chain or a brewing giant, he said.