Editors absorb a lot of the stress that’s created by writing a book. Authors crashing into deadlines, designers careering into even worse deadlines, a budget spreadsheet that has to keep everyone happy and, this year, the impact of Covid-19 on all that. Alan Murphy, the editor who wrangled Beer By Design from a germ of an idea to the bitter (you’re welcome) end, was Project Ed. We salute him.
Describe your role at CAMRA Books: “My role is a combined one of Commissioning Editor and Managing Editor. I submit book proposals to a Publishing Advisory Group for consideration and (hopefully) approval. I then work out a budget and schedule with the author and draw up a contract for them to sign. Once the author completes the book, I work with our editorial and production team to put the book together before sending it to the printer. “
What did you enjoy about the Beer By Design book in particular?: “So many things but working with someone like Pete, who is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about the subject, was a real honour.”
What role do you think design has in the beer world? “A vital one. As Pete says in the introduction, a beer has to be noticed before the customer chooses it amidst a sea of competition, and that’s where the design of label, can or pump clip comes in.”
Was there anything that surprised you about the Beer by Design book? “I think what surprised me most was just how much we are influenced by design; even the angle of a letter in a name can alter our mood.”
While all the designs are obviously your favourite, were there any personal stand outs? “Very difficult, but I’d have to say Burning Sky for the atmosphere they evoke.”
What’s going to be your festive tipple this Christmas? “I’ve got some bottles of Arkell’s Sir Noel Christmas Ale and Adnams Tally-Ho. I’ll also be supporting my local brewery, The Nook, with some of their fine beers such as Maple Porter and Oat Stout.”
When you’re not working on books, where can we find you? “I spend most of my spare time walking our dog, watching my son play football at the weekend, or teaching my daughter to drive. For relaxation I love to cook, so you’ll often find me in the kitchen (though not at parties).”
Beer, design & music are our jam. What have you been listening to recently?
“I’ve been listening to a lot of mellower, more contemplative music this year. A lot of stuff like Bill Callahan, Beach House, Jenny Lewis, as well as old favourites like Elvis Costello and David Byrne.”
And when you’re not commissioning and editing books, what do you read? “I read a lot of fiction, American writers like Richard Ford and Cormac McCarthy, as well as William Boyd and Jonathan Coe. I’ve been reading more and more crime fiction and was recently recommended the series of Bernie Gunther detective thrillers by beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones.”