Glass half full: an update from your friendly local Ale Taster

What has town Ale Taster Jerry Baily been up to lately? He penned this update a couple of months ago to tell us all (and accidentally didn’t send it on to me until last week – he was too busy eating, drinking and being merry, clearly)

I was appointed and presented my title and gown on 25th February 2012 by the Mayor – the lovely and now sadly missed Leslie Street. On 2nd March 2013 I was re-instated for my second and last year by her successor Frank Burns. This is a summary of what I’ve been up too on behalf of the people of Wellington and Shropshire:

My first day was taken up with a stroll around the towns public houses cumulating with an official ‘Meet the Ale Taster’ function in The Cock Hotel: I grew into my role that day and haven’t really stopped growing since! I chatted to a whole host of people, explaining why I was wearing the gown and my duties. The first day of my second year was almost a carbon copy of that inaugural initiation.

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Jerry and friends pay a visit to Lesley’s Larder inside Wellington Market on Charter Day this year

I was asked to help promote the opening of a cafe in the market square and a pub in Dawley: I dutifully wore my gown and said the appropriate words as well as being photographed for prosperity. Everything went very quiet after that; I was away for last year’s ‘Midsummer Fayre’ and ‘The Wrekin Barrel Race’, so my apparel wasn’t on show again until the Wellington Carnival, where I hung around the CAMRA beer tent. The Oakengates Folk and Ale Day saw me opening the event in September and staying all day ensuring all the Ales were in top order.

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The Farmers Market in the Market Square would sometimes see me wandering around in the gown to try and help that gain in popularity. Christ Church and the town’s twinning association had the pleasure of my company at their Christmas Concert. I walked through town in the procession for the Christmas lights switch-on and danced away at a Real-Ale Ceilidh in Wrockwardine, wearing the ‘uniform’ on both occasions to the delight of many.

Jerry's visit to the Christmas Ceilidh at Wrockwardine

Jerry’s visit to the Christmas Ceilidh at Wrockwardine

Although my official appointments list isn’t huge I’ve also done a great deal ‘without the gown’. Shropshire beers have accompanied me to beer festivals and bars in the following towns and cities: Antwerp, Brugge, Diest and Essen (all in Belgium), Luxembourg, Berlin and San Francisco. The bottles are given or exchanged as gifts to landlords or beer lovers (at my expense by the way). I’ve championed our brewers at all times on my travels and this year intend taking the gown with me to any beer festivals I attend. I’ve taken local food and drinks with me for many years now, so that will not change when I am relieved of my ‘Ale Taster’ position during the 2014 Charter Day.

Jerry practicing his dancing during our open air ceilidh dance at the Midsummer Fayre last week

Jerry practicing his dancing during our open air ceilidh dance at the Midsummer Fayre last week

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first year and fully expect to do the same through 2013 – please contact me if you think my (free) services are required to help promote anything local.

So – do you need some help promoting local food and drink around The Wrekin? Jerry will be in post (at the bar?) until February 2014, so get in touch with him through this website if you require his very expert services.

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