Ladders To Heaven

By Mike Shanahan

How fig trees shaped our history, fed our imaginations and can enrich our future

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

The book you funded has inspired a new beer

Hello everyone,

Here’s a little news that I’ve been dying to share…

It is about a quirky side-effect of the book that I wrote, and which you all brought to life with your generous support.

My book is about how fig trees have influenced human evolution and cultural development, have shaped the world about us, and can help us restore damaged rainforests. Last November, I heard that it had inspired a brewer called Sean White in Athens, Ohio to produce a new beer.

He got in touch to ask if he could name the beer after book, using the title of the US edition ‘Gods, Wasps and Stranglers’. I said yes immediately.

The beer is a sour brown ale, aged in a red wine barrel for 22 months, and conditioned on one pound per gallon of dried Turkish figs for the last four months. At 8% abv, it means business.

Sean’s company, Little Fish Brewing, is a small-scale brewer with a mission to “to brew world class beer while sustainably supporting local economies”. Beer, figs, sustainability. For me, it was a match made in heaven.

Now I’ve seen the beer bottle label art for the first time and I love it. This fantastic artwork, which I am sharing here, is by an artist and tattooist called Mike Moses (his website is here). The label includes a nice summary of the book (if the writing appears too small here, you can find a larger image at this link).

I never imagined that my book would inspire someone to create a beer. Then again, I never expected it to inspire artists (as here) or dancers (as here). But it has, and I'm over the moon to know that my words have planted seeds in the minds of such creative people.

Once again, big thanks to all of you who helped make this happen.

The hardback edition is now out of print, so if you have one it is a rare beast. The paperback is doing well, but could always do with a boost, so please do spread the word if you can, or leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads if it is not too much trouble.

Best wishes



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