Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The impostor

This caught my attention. Gerhard Schoolman, who runs the well-regarded Café Abseits in the beer mecca of Bamberg, had a visitor, who was nice enough to bring him some beer. Samuel Smith's beer – Taddy Porter, Imperial Stout and so on. Very nice.

According to Gerhard's account, the visitor was Samuel Smith himself, owner and brewer at the brewery.

Now this sounds as fishy as a bucket of haddock, for several reasons.

The first, most obvious, is that Samuel Smith's is not owned by a man named Samuel Smith any more. It seemed to me at first that Gerhard has been taken in by a joker.

Sam's brewery, as I understand it (and I am no expert on the matter) is pretty much wholly owned by its chairman Humphrey Smith and his brother Oliver. The company is notoriously reticent and Humphrey himself has a reputation of being whimsical, to put it mildly.

Of course, since Humphrey Smith's private life is so unknown to us, it's possible that he does enjoy visiting Germany and sharing beer with beer-lovers there. And, er, claiming to be his great-grandfather.

Yet it doesn't seem to fit in with the little we do know about the man and his behaviour in this country.

One more avenue remains. Humph does have a son called Samuel, yet the lad is only 22 which seems a bit young to be head brewer, if he is involved in the brewery at all. Nevertheless that's the only reasonably plausible scenario. If it's actually Smith junior who was in Bamberg, it's an interesting development and a sign that Sam's might open up a bit in future, should Humphrey ever retire.

The alternative explanation is much more bizarre. It means that someone is going about pretending to be Samuel Smith, the putative owner of a brewery that almost nobody in Germany has ever heard of. Why? It's a mystery to me.


  1. Hmm. Maybe Gerhard got mixed up?

  2. See also this event at Khioskh: http://kihoskh.dk/?p=446

  3. Seems young Sam is wandering around with a suitcase full of bottles.

  4. Mystery solved then. At least his dad isn't making him carry a wooden kilderkin around.

  5. I'm going to try that. Except instead of giving away free beer, I'm going to ask for free beer.

  6. Tsk! Missed him by 2 weeks :)