Pete Brown was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and much against his better judgment, still supports its football team.
After graduating from the University of St Andrews, Pete spent ten years in advertising, helping some of the world’s biggest brands with their marketing strategy. Most famously, he persuaded Heineken to ditch its ‘Heineken refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach’ slogan just weeks before it was named the most successful advertising slogan of all time. He also worked on Stella Artois’ ‘Reassuringly Expensive’ campaign, for which he wrote several award-winning papers proving its commercial effectiveness.
After looking for a book that explained the British love for beer but not being able to find it, Pete wrote Man Walks Into A Pub: A Sociable History of Beer (2003, revised 2010). It sold so well that it was almost turned into a BBC TV series, but was pipped at the final commissioning meeting by a series about mountains. Mountains.
Its follow up, Three Sheets to the Wind (2006) and then Hops & Glory (2009, ) Shakespeare’s Local (2012), The Pub: A Cultural Institution (2016) and Miracle Brew (2017) have all been critically well received, as well as appearing across the national media. Shakespeare’s Local was BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week at launch in December 2012, and Miracle Brew was shortlisted for the Andre Simon Best Drinks Book Award in 2017.
Pete’s blog was one of the first beer blogs in the UK back in 2006, and this, together with being editor-at-large for Original Gravity magazine, regular columns in the Morning Advertiser and Class magazine, frequent contributions to national new media and beer magazines such as Ferment and Hopticle give him a platform to talk about all aspects of the drinks and pubs business. He was elected Chair to the British Guild of Beer Writers in July 2018.
After being asked repeatedly to offer views on cider, which is a completely different drink from beer, Pete teamed up with photographer and cider evangelist Bill Bradshaw to learn about the world’s most misunderstood drink and write the Guide to Welsh Cider and Perry (2013) and World’s Best Cider (2013). He followed this up in 2016 with The Apple Orchard – a journey through the magic and history of the English apple, which was BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week in November 2016 and was shortlisted for several awards. From here he diversified into food with Pie Fidelity (2019), a defence of traditional British cuisine.
In the 2020 Covid Lockdown Pete wrote and self-published Craft: An Argument with his wife Liz, which was named Best Beer Book at the North American Guild of Beer Writers Awards. Pete and Liz also produced Beer By Design: The Art of Good Beer Branding, combining their marketing expertise with their love of beer.
He is a consultant and marketing strategist to brewers and their agencies, where his knowledge of the beer and the wider drinks industry as well as his advertising experience offers a unique overview of some of the challenges they face.
Somewhat inevitably, Pete is often called upon at corporate events, where his after-dinner speeches and keynote conference presentations almost always involve a Man Walks Into A Pub joke.
Pete is now one of the most recognised beer writers in the UK, is broadening his scope to cover food and drink more broadly, and is delighted that his books have been translated into over two languages.