London Fields brand ambassador Gabriele Bertucci is a man with a plan and has made it his mission to share the voice of the beer and hospitality industries at a time when they so desperately need to be heard.
by Kathrine Reippurt Nielsen, PR & Communications Executive
I don’t think anybody would disagree when I say the pandemic has affected the hospitality industry severely. Pubs have lost months of trading due to lockdowns and have repeatedly found themselves at the centre of government restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19. Many have lost their jobs, and more than 5% of pubs in 2020 permanently closed directly from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, figures from the British Beer & Pub Associations show.
Exactly that (the struggles that pubs and bars are facing during the current pandemic) is something filmmakers and creatives have teamed up to raise awareness of through a new project: Turning The Tide. I was lucky enough to sit down (figuratively speaking) with the man behind it all, Gabriele Bertucci, who also happens to be a London Fields Brewery man, to learn more.
When the first lockdown happened, Gabs, along with so many others in the beer and brewing industry, was put on furlough. With his job as a London Fields brand ambassador on hold, he now had two options – sit at home and feel depressed about the situation or use the extra time to make a real difference. Fortunately, he chose the latter.
“I'm incapable of sitting still and decided to use my time to not only develop new skills but also to help those in need in our much-loved industry. The pub for me has always been the perfect place to learn about British culture, refine my language skills, and important for making friends in the city. For these reasons, I cannot stand to see my favourite watering holes shut their doors for good.”
"To stay connected in the craft beer scene, I launched a digital community called ‘What's in the Glass?' (WITG). During the first lockdown, I realised how much I missed spending time with people in pubs. For me, meeting people in the pub is a huge part of living in London. So, while I couldn't replace the value of face-to-face interactions, I could still connect people through beer."
With that, WITG was born. WITG is a community that connects like-minded souls from across the beer world. Gabs now has 48 beer streams under his belt, consisting of interviews with numerous beer personalities in the UK and beyond. It's safe to say that Gabs during this time has managed to build himself a reputation as a credible beer communicator - something that's not easy to do. And with his Instagram and website being visited by a large number of people every month, Gabs has now got a platform to talk to a large number of people. In other words, he's got a fresh voice within the industry, and that voice he plans to use to do good.
"After the live streams over the summer, I felt I could do more," Gabs told me.
And that's when he got the idea for his latest project, Turning the Tide - an open miniseries that explores and documents testimonies and transformations of London beer culture during the covid-19 pandemic.
"With Turning the Tide, we want to create a tighter community around beer and get more appreciation of what pub culture means to people's day-to-day lives. It all began as a passion project, entirely self-funded so far, and consisting of five episodes of roughly 25 minutes each."
"My hope for this project is that it will show that the British pub is something that cannot be replicated, and how pubs, bars and restaurants so desperately need support - both from the government and from their locals. In time, Turning The Tide could even become a bigger initiative that helps raise funds for pubs struggling financially. If we achieve that I'll sleep well a night knowing that I made a difference for someone else."
Gabs and the rest of the team are now crowdfunding to complete the final touches on post-production and promotional material. They need every bit of support they can get. If only 200 people spared £5 (the price of a pint) the project would meet its fundraising targets.
To find out more, and to support the project, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/turning-the-tide-campaign
About Gabriele Bertucci
Gabriele, the founding member behind this historically poignant venture and production, is an Italian beer guy based in London. Not only does he make hugely valuable contributions to the London beer scene, but he also holds equally useful titles amongst his peers in the industry. Gabs is an Accredited Beer Sommelier by The Beer & Cider Academy, a member of The British Guild of Beer Writers and has recently won the “Best Citizen Beer Communicator” award (silver).