John Barleycorn

What I've been meaning to announce for a little while is that Bubble Brothers now have the requisite licence for the sale of cases of beer and of spirits to the public.

This doesn't mean we'll be making any huge changes to the way we do things. It's just that we had the opportunity to represent the new-and-exciting Iki beer in Ireland, and didn't want to miss out on supplying something special and different. As a lad from Adnams country with a preference for warm foamy bitter &c. &c. I have to say that yellow beers often taste much of a muchness to me, but the old Iki has a nice citric bite that would make it a terrific restaurant beer as well as grade A refreshment on a hot day.

On the spirits side, we'll be able to bring in some of the simply wonderful Armagnac made by M. Noël Laudet at Château Laballe (site in French). We've always been impressed with the white wines made by this former cellar master from Château Beychevelle, and when - at the drop of a hat - he and the equally charming Mme Laudet flew over for our trade tastings in March, we were very happy indeed to be able to sample a variety of his remarkable Armagnacs: ethereal, gutsy, and essential, putting the generally available cognacs in context. A pity we can't sell direct to the public, unless by the case, but first things first.