Beer and rowing go hand-in-hand. This statement might surprise some readers as it is said that alcohol and sport should not mix. This is true, but we are not talking about any kind of drink or any kind of sport, we are talking about beer and rowing!
There have already been some entries on this blog about beer and beer labels with rowing images. Maybe the first one that springs to mind is Guinness from which family Rupert Guinness (the Earl of Iveagh) the famous sculler came.
Both rowing and drinking beer are good socializing activities which might partly explain why many of the rowing clubs in Great Britain also have a bar serving beer. The rowing clubs along the Championship Course on the Thames rely on the income they get during Boat Race Day when both the rowing and beer drinking spirit are equally high.
In some pubs you can find rowing memorabilia on the walls or shells hanging from the ceiling. Even at British pubs in Sweden this could occur. In the University town of Lund, in the south of Sweden, the pub John Bull (nowadays called the Old Bull) had black & white photographs from the 1920s and 1930s showing Cambridge crews on the Thames and the Cam. In the 1990s, the pub also got an old wooden coxed pair which was hanging from the ceiling. The boat had the very un-British name of ‘Ture’. It was actually my old rowing club in Malmö which had sold this old boat to the pub. The name of the boat came from an old tradition to name boats after old presidents/chairmen of the club committee.
During my active time at the club, my fellow oarsmen and I would frequently visit pubs in Malmö (and at one point, in 1992, we went to London for the Boat Race, and for a pub round which lasted for three days…). Maybe, therefore, I thought it would be nice to gather the old guard again at a pub when I visited Malmö last week. I sent out an e-mail, informing them that I would be at a new pub in town, the Green Lion Inn, on Friday between so and so, and if they wanted to meet up that would be nice.
I received three e-mails from friends saying that they unfortunately could not make it, one was ‘stuck’ in Stockholm, one was playing golf and drinking whisky in Scotland, and the third one was on a canal boat on a narrow river in England and Wales – perfectly fine excuses. But the rest of the old boys all showed up, and what a nice evening it was…