Richard Oliff: Origins need to be authentic

Richard discovered his Spanish beer was made a little closer to home
Richard discovered his Spanish beer was made a little closer to home
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I really don’t like it if someone is trying to mislead me.

I can think of one example when I’d bought a pen to use in Scotland, as I’m forever writing something or other.

I’d decided to buy one that boasted proudly along its full length ‘Souvenir of Scotland’, complete with a picture of a highland cow. However, on closer examination, and in miniscule writing along the metal clip, it clearly stated ‘made in China’.

Surely there must be a pen factory somewhere in Scotland that’s missing a trick or two. Just look inside that cap you bought as a souvenir of Disneyland Paris or wherever.

I bet it doesn’t say ‘made in France’ or ‘made in USA’ on the label. It seems as if everyone is making everyone else’s souvenirs to sell back to each other.

Then there are the other things that simply have to be genuine: the things that would just seem wrong if it were to be found they were manufactured elsewhere.

For example, the only time I ever drink lager beer is in a warmer climate like, say, Spain, or the Spanish islands. Quintessential to this process is a bottled tipple called San Miguel: my taste of summer sunshine in somewhere like Menorca. Last weekend, while out shopping, I came across the aforementioned ‘elixir’ on sale in my local supermarket and decided to take the flavour of Spain home with me. The perfect amber accompaniment, I thought, for our barbecue that evening. It was only after I’d managed to quaff half a glass that I noticed something written on a label on the neck of the bottle.

‘Brewed and bottled in the EU. Carlsberg UK Ltd, Northampton, NN1 1PZ’ – Northampton! – It just sort of took the shine off my Spanish experience.