"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Friday, 23 November 2012

Tomos Watkin and the identity crisis

Tomos Watkin is a small brewery with a large identity crisis. Since 2002 it has been owned by The Hurns Brewing Company. If you look at their "mission statement" on their website then you will see the following.
I drive passed it's Llansamlet brewery on the way to work and have done so for several years now. Earlier this year I emailed the company to thank them for flying Welsh flags, Y Ddraig Goch and the flag of St David. Not enough Welsh companies do this so I thought I would take five minutes out to thank them. I also pointed out that their flag of St David had faded and now looked like St Pirrans flag. But other than that it was a polite email.

I received a prompt reply from the CEO, she thanked me for my email and told me that the rope on the flag pole had broken which is why they hadn't had a chance to replace the flag.

Not long after this they replaced the Y Ddraig Goch with a special jubilee version of the British flag. That's right, this proud Welsh company had taken down our flag and instead put up a homage to an unelected monarch that many people in Wales do not recognise. And all the while the St Davids (or possibly St Pirrans) flag hung limply from the other pole. Of course I emailed them again to take all my praise back and to inform them that I thought this was an insult to the whole of Wales.

Strangely they didn't reply.

Now fast forward a few months and I'd long since forgotten about this, the darker mornings and evenings helped but then a few days ago I drove passed and something caught my eye. A new flag. Not just any old flag but the flag of Glyndŵr.

So that is why I stated at the beginning that Tomos Watkin is a small brewery with a large identity crisis. One minute they are flying a flag that symbolises the British Empires strangle hold over Wales, the next they are flying a flag that symbolises the hope that one day Wales will be free once more. Coincidentally it's not long before nationalists from all across Wales make their annual pilgrimage to Cilmeri, many will be carrying a Glyndŵr flag. This sudden change of flag would fit in with their sudden change of flag before the jubilee. Maybe they just wanted to make a few extra sales? They did it for the BritNats, so now maybe they are targetting the WelshNats?

For me this plastic patriotism doesn't wash, at best it looks naive. At worst it makes them look like they are willing to prosititute their entire business for a few extra sales. And it also makes a complete mockery of their mission statement.

1 comment:

  1. Believe me, it boils down either to confused identity or, as you suggest, trying to please everybody. Too many Welsh have divided loyalties and genuinely see no problem with flying Brit flags one day and Welsh flags the next. That's the mindset we must target and change.