The Brewery Heritage Museum Video (10 minutes) 1988.

You can view the fine cut edit of the video with unmixed audio here


 

In 1988 whilst working as a freelance dubbing editor at Central Television I was contacted by an old college friend Mike Knights (He of Heave Too's Motorcycle Enthusiast fame). I'd not heard from him in ages but in the interim he'd become the director of the Brewery Heritage Museum in Burton-on-Trent. We agreed to met up to discuss making a promotional video for his new venture.

Unlike the majority of large scale breweries in the town, who were all high-tech and producing the dreaded 'keg' beer on an industrial scale, the Brewery Heritage Museum was still brewing in the traditional way. The likes of Tiger Bitter and Mild were being produced for Everhards, a Leicester company. 

We worked on a script together, with me doing the visual treatment and Mike providing the content. Not surprisingly he gave himself the major role as 'mien host', introducing himself and the Brewery on screen and giving visitors an informed introduction to the Museum, a potted history of brewing in the region, the technical processes etc.

It was a good idea as the role of presenter suits him well. He always had, and still does have a 'larger than life' personality. He's now retired but still keeps himself busy DJ'ing and you'd be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable expert on soul music this side of Detroit. 

Anyway I persuaded my great friend Martin Tomlinson, sadly no longer with us, to be the cameraman and we shot for a couple of days and edited on VHS over the next few weeks.

To be honest, the filming at the working brewery museum is all a bit of a blur, liquid temptation being a bit too close to hand.

My strongest memory is decamping to the Knights' house in Lichfield after the first days filming to view the  rushes and the three of us laughing so much our stomachs hurt at the outtakes of the opening scene where take after take was required.

We'd set it up so that Geoff Calderbank, the chief brewer and a twenty pint a day man, signs off at the end of his shift, and after a bit of improvised chit-chat and downing his half pint of bitter, bids Mike a 'Good evening' and leaves the stage clear for Mike to then introduce himself. Anyone other than Geoff would have been paralytic with the number of re-takes that we needed to get it right!

The completed video was used for a while in the visitors centre and I understand that the Museum was wound up and is now demolished.

Post Script

Mike came up to Manchester for a visit a few years ago and we called into the Kings Arms, Salford with its excellent CAMRA hostelry downstairs and home upstairs, to  a venue for many original drama and musical productions in the city.

And what should be staring us in the face as we entered the public bar?

Only the poster for the Museum featuring Mike in his Victorian clobber.

He thought I'd set it up but I hadn't.  We couldn't believe it and it took a couple of pints to get over the serendipity of the situation although I vividly remember Mike was as chuffed as old boots and proceeded to point out to any barflies who'd listen.