I recently used one of my favourite books for a class I run. It's about sherry, it's called The Big Book of Sherry Wines, and it's commissioned by the Conserjeria de Agrucultura y Pesca - I don't speak Spanish but I can work out that that something we used to have a parrallel version of over here; The Min of Ag & Fish (Now, I think, under Defra).
It is a beautiful book, full of absolutely stunning colour plates from the region. There are chapters on Land, Nature and Scenery and The architecture of Sherry Wines to name but two. It thus functions as a history, a wine guide, and perhaps most importantly, a stunning advert for tourists.*
So what has this got to do with beer? Well it made me think about what we have in this country by way of an equivalent, and, while there are plenty of beer publications on the market, is it possible to imagine a government department thinking that beer and brewing is that important as an industry to get behind it in this sort of way?
I think it'd be moving into the realms of Sci-Fi and beer, and that's someone else's blog.
* Or at least it would do if you could get to have a look at a copy - it's not exactly a Waterstone's bestseller.
Additional: It's not just me! This was c/o Melissa Cole on Twitter 23/11/2011: Beer and Britain's Rural Economy. This article about the NFU asking for more support was also tweeted by the guys at St. Martin.