Brews in brief …

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has appointed Barry Watts as its new head of public affairs and policy. Barry joins SIBA from the Royal Economic Society and brings to the role significant public affairs and communications experience, having worked in Parliament and financial regulation. He also ran his own brewing company.

Wadworth has brewed Rising Scrum (3.9% ABV) to celebrate the Rugby World Cup. The deep golden ale is highly drinkable, says the brewer, with a refreshing bitterness drawn from Japanese hop Sorachi Ace. 

St Peter’s Brewery has launched a collaboration with the English Whisky Co. Whisky Beer (4.8% ABV) is described as a balanced golden beer with smokey overtones and aromas of peated malt, combined with a measure of award-winning whisky.

The Brewery Bible — a book and app listing breweries, venues and beer stockists — is to be launched at 7pm on September 26 at Attic Brew, in Birmingham. Co-founder, Abby Millar, said: “After launching our first book in May, the South West Edition, we’re so excited to head to the Midlands and help beer lovers in the region discover their new favourite brewery, taproom or beer experience via our Midlands book and the new app.”

Arkell’s Brewery has launched a new seasonal beer, Big Hit (4.2% ABV), to tie in with the Rugby World Cup in Japan. With chocolate malt and wheat notes, the beer has an amber colour with notes of powerfully flavoured hops producing a tropical fruity, hoppy flavour. Big Hit was created by head brewer, Alex Arkell, in response to increasing demand from customers for new experimental flavours. 

Ultimate Brewery Tour

Nineteen Greene King team members set out on a 420-mile Ultimate Brewery Tour bike ride to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Starting from the UK’s leading pub company and brewer’s head office in Bury St Edmunds, the ride will snake northwards, with stops in York and Newcastle, before finally arriving at its Belhaven Brewery on the east coast of Scotland four days later. The challenge was created by the brewer to raise funds for Macmillan and also celebrate Belhaven Brewery’s 300th anniversary.

The latest addition to Camden Town Brewery’s seasonal Hells range is Harvest Hells, a full-bodied, malty red lager. For each can sold, 20p will be donated to the Felix Project, helping to tackle food poverty across London.

Full Circle Brew Co is to open a brewery and taproom in Hoults Yard, Newcastle, in November. There will be a 30-hectolitre brewhouse with a canning line. There will be 20 taps, divided between Full Circle beers and guest brews.

Verdant Buddleia

Buddleia, Butterflies, Rust & Messages IPA is new from Verdant Brewing. Hopped with Mosaic and Falconer’s Flight, it offers tangy pineapple, zingy grapefruit, and sticky stone fruit, all closed out with a touch of piney bitterness on the finish.

BrewDog, along with Deliveroo and Costa Coffee, is growing in value faster than any other UK brand, according to the 2019 BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable UK Brands, announced by WPP and Kantar. Vodafone remains the UK’s most valuable brand, worth £21.5bn, followed by HSBC and Shell.

Brakspear has created Writer’s Block, a 4.6% ABV red ale, at its Bell Street Brewery, in Henley, to support the town’s Literary Festival, which runs from September 26 to October 6. The beer has been brewed with Amarillo and Jester hops, and Carared malt. For every pint sold, 10p will go to support the festival.

Previously launched as a keg beer, Durham Brewery’s gose, Goslar, is now available in bottle. A gentle sourness is supported by a backbone of classic wheat beer flavour. “A little salt fills out the body of this very refreshing thirst quencher,” says the brewer.

Berwick Juniors Football Club players have received new kit as part of a sponsorship deal with fifth-generation maltster, Berwick-based Simpsons Malt, and its agricultural trading arm, MSP.

JD Wetherspoon has cut the price of a pint of Ruddles by 20p, to show, says chairman Tim Martin, how leaving the EU customs union could reduce prices.

Guinness has teamed up with nightlife app DUSK to offer Londoners the chance to enjoy a free pint this summer from 23 Laine pubs in the capital — the offer is available until October 1.

Shepherd Neame has picked up seven medals at the 2019 International Beer Challenge. In the ales category, bronze taste medals were awarded to bottle conditioned 1698, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale, Shepherd Neame India Pale Ale, Spitfire Amber Ale, and Spitfire Golden Ale. In the lagers category, bronze medals were awarded to Five Grain Lager and Whitstable Bay Blonde Lager.

New Old Speckled Hen

Greene King has given Old Speckled Hen a branding makeover. The famous octagon and brand name have been retained, but a sleeker typeface and silver edging give it a modern twist. The beer was first brewed by Morland & Co 40 years ago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the MG car factory, in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

Robinsons Brewery has reported a record turnover of £75.5m in the year to December 31, 2018. Pre-tax profit has more than doubled to £7.1m. William Robinson, managing director (pub division), said: “Investment, licensee support, and training have been key drivers over the past five years. During that time, we have invested £26.7m of capital expenditure and completed 127 refurbishments. As a result, our tenanted and managed pubs are in extremely good shape, trading well, and are in a strong position to continue to grow sales.”

UnBarred is settling into its new brewery in Brighton and has released Passion Fruit Pale Ale (6% ABV), which has a bucket load of passion fruit puree and a hop pairing of simcoe and mosaic. Coming soon is a milk stout …

Beavertown Borderlands

Videogame publisher 2K has teamed up with Beavertown Brewery in celebration of its upcoming game Borderlands 3, released on September 13. The pair have created a light IPA, Bandit Brew (2.8% ABV), the background bringing tropical notes of pina colada, passion fruit and fresh citrus, with a dry, bitter finish that leaves you thirsty for more.

This year’s Belfast Beer and Cider Festival — what would have been the 20th anniversary event — has been cancelled. A hike in prices made the usual venue, the Ulster Hall, too expensive. The organisers say they would have had to charge a high entrance price just to break even. They were unable to find an alternative venue in time.

Alcohol education charity Drinkaware has launched the next phase in its Drink Free Days campaign, designed to help mid-life drinkers reduce their alcohol consumption. The campaign will run on radio and online, targeting 40- to 64-year-old drinkers — the group most at risk of alcohol-related health harm.

Camden Beer 2019

Camden Town Brewery has announced this year’s iteration of its annual Christmas brew, Beer 2019. “The Champagne of beers, this seasonal brew is gold, bubbly, and perfect for any celebration,” says the brewer. The 11% ABV beer comes in a gold screenprinted 500ml bottle designed by Bodil Jane. Aged for eight months in the classic Champagne Pinot Noir and Chardonnay barrels, Beer 2019 has a dry flavour profile with biscuit malt and fruit grape aromas from Hallertau Blanc and Enigma hops.

Black Tor Tap TackleBlack Tor Brewery is launching Tap Tackle (4% ABV) on cask to herald the Rugby World Cup. It’s an easy-drinking amber ale, malty and fruity, brewed with Bramling Cross and Jester hops, Maris Otter malt, crystal, and a touch of chocolate malt. Director and brewer, Jonathon Crump, said: “Malty session beers are what we do best, and I think it drinks as well, if not better, than my favourite Raven best bitter — perfect session beer to watch the rugby with.”

Shepherd Neame’s green hop beer is Oast Dodger (4.5% ABV), released this weekend at the Faversham Hop Festival. Head brewer Mike Unsworth and senior brewer Stewart Tricker headed to Parsonage Farm, Boughton under Blean, last week to select and help pick the first hops of the year. The beer has a delicious aroma and earthy kick, says the brewer.

Evelyn’s Table, the kitchen bar in the converted wine cellar of The Blue Posts, in LOndon’s Chinatown, has created its own Evelyn’s Table Beer with Biercraft and craft brewer Braybrooke Beer Co. The pale lager, served in a beautifully designed bottle, is available to buy at Evelyn’s Table and itsister sites, The Blue PostsThe Palomar, and The Mulwray, and will soon be available at The Barbary.

Salcombe Brewery Co is launching its first small-batch brew, Hop Garden, a green hop ale. The 4% ABV amber ale is pale and refreshing with a citrus punch. Head brewer Sam Beaman said: “I am incredibly excited by this single-batch beer which will be created using green hops fresh from the field. The hops will be collected the day before being brewed, so the result is a hop flavour as fresh as can be. From field to glass within a fortnight!”

The British Beer and Pub Association has aired the third episode of its Beer and Pubcast podcast, recorded at Adnams and focusing upon the initiatives brewers and pubs are taking to improve their environmental credentials, as well as a detailed exploration of how a deposit return scheme (DRS) will affect the sector. The podcast is available to listen to on the BBPA website and on Soundcloud. 

Cask Marque has launched a series of ale trails in partnership with Ei Group in an effort to drive footfall to pubs. There will be trails for Bristol, Cheltenham, Fulham, Huddersfield, City of London, Manchester, Twickenham, and York.

Marston’s has renewed its five-year sponsorship and supply partnership with Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owners of Lord’s Cricket Ground. The agreement marks the continuation of a ten-year relationship to supply all ales, beers, lagers, stouts, and ciders to every bar at the venue.

Innis Gunn Original

Innis & Gunn has launched its biggest ever marketing and trade campaign to support its flagship beer, The Original, and barrel aged range. The Original is the product that led to the creation of the Innis & Gunn brand and is one of only five craft beers worth more than £1 million to the Scottish beer trade.

Carlsberg is supporting a new category in the British Guild of Beer Writers’ annual awards, for writing about sustainability in beer and pubs. The deadline to enter the awards is September 6. For more details, visit the guild’s website

Molson Coors is replacing plastic packaging with cardboard on Carling and Coors Light in the UK and Ireland. By the end of March 21 it has pledged to remove plastic rings from the beers’ cans, too, switching to cardboard sleeves.

London Beer Factory is undergoing a rebranding process and has confirmed that it is on the lookout for new premises as its seeks to expand.

Ora NostalgiaORA Brewing has collaborated with Twisted Barrel Ale on Nostalgia, a vegan gelato pale with peach (5.8% ABV). The beer has been infused with massive quantities of peach, with a little help from Madagascar vanilla and blood oranges.

Wyllie Recycling based in Perth, has joined the OneCircle initiative to provide a KeyKeg recycling service for breweries in Scotland. The firm’s wide range of specialist collection and treatment services has seen it quickly become the go-to recycling company for the drinks industry.

Adnams reported a loss of £783,000 in the half-year to June 30. The loss takes into account substantial changes and considerable investment in recent years, says the brewer. Beer volumes were ahead of the market, though, up 2%.

Good Living Brewing Company has launched a 0.5% ABV beer which is vegan, and gluten-free. The launch follows the success of the 4% ABV Binary Botanical launch in Ocado in May. The new variant has the same fresh profile, is light and refreshing, with hints of passionfruit and white peach, light bitterness, and atangy finish. The beer is infused with organic leaves from Sovereign and First Gold hop bines, hence the name binary.

Ciaran Giblin, former Meantime and Fuller’s brewer, has been appointed has been appointed brewmaster at Brighton-based Laine Brew Co. Another former Meantime staffer, Matthew McAloone, has been apposinted Laine’s sales director.

Unbarred Brewery has two old favourites available again. Honeycombe Milkshake Pale (6% ABV) is a lactose-laced IPA with El Dorado and Cascade hops. West Side Story (7% ABV) is a West Coast IPA, hopped this time around with Columbus and Ekuanot.

Hambleton Brewery has been awarded three stars in this years Great Taste Awards. Managing director, Rachel Harrison, said: ““This is the first time we have entered the competition, and we were just hoping to get recognition withat least a one-star rating — which in itself is hugely difficult to achieve. To then find out we wereawarded three stars, the top rating possible, is a dream come true.”

Bedlam Brewery, in Sussex, has closed its crowdfunding campaign after exceeding its target. It aimed to raise £550,000, but ended up with £625,530.

Wye Valley Brewery has completed an expansion project, extending a building and adding more temperature-controlled storage space. The work follows receipt of a £100,000 Marches Building Investment Grant, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Asahi has joined the list of supporters of the British Guild of Beer Writers annual awards. The European arm of the business will sponsor the award for best beer and travel writer.

AB InBev has reported revenue growth of 6.2% in the second quarter of 2019, with own beer volumes up in the half-year so far. Paula Lindberg, president of the UK and Ireland operation of Budweiser Brewing, as the company is known here, said: “We have seen demand for no-alcohol beer continue to rise, with growth at 25% year to date, and Beck’s Blue the number one beer in this category. In the low-alcohol segment, Camden Town Brewery launched its new 3% ABV beer Week Nite, and Bud Light is growing by double digits in both the on-trade and off-trade.

XT Brewing is kicking off a new series of specials with Saison, at 4.9% ABV. Brewed with 10% wheat and 10% rye, and fermented with a semi-wild saison yeast, the beer is hopped with New Zealand varieties. The brewer has also added two summer specials to its Animals range — Sly, a summer pale, and Humingbird, a floral IPA, both at 4.6% ABV.

Durham Brewery is getting ready to celebrate its 25th anniversary, and among its celebratory beers is Closest to Heaven, a 4.2% ABV IPA. Masses of Centennial hops create peaches and lychee flavours. It is dry hopped with Cashmere, Centennial and Columbus, creating big aromas of tropical fruits.

Robinsons says it has seen a 59% year-on-year increase in sales of low- and no-alcohol beer and cider. Marketing director, David Bremner, said: “We need to keep this in context, but three of our top ten packaged beers are now no- or low-alcohol and represent more than 16% of packaged beer sales, which is way above industry average.”

Old Harry's Pale SailBadger Beers’ Old Harry’s Pale Sail is returning after a successful summer release last year. Bursting with floral and citrusy aromas, the 4.5% ABV pale ale contains Goldings, Jester, and Amarillo hops, and Flagon, Crystal, and Munich malts. It’s in cask from the beginning of August until the autumn.

Watneys Beer Company has hits its £400,000 crowdfunding target. Shaun Goode and Nick Whitehurst — whose company was previously known as Brands Reunited — said in their pitch: “Our focus is to make Watneys a national brand once more and build a portfolio of strong regional craft brands. We also own the rights to Federation, from the North East, and Matthew Brown, from the North West. Last year saw the launch of Headliners, our modern craft range of keg beer. We derive almost all our revenue from sales to pubs. This is a key channel to build brand awareness and value, before looking to move into the off-trade and grocery markets.”

A collaboration between retailer Real Ale and Kingston’s Park Brewery took gold in the sours category at SIBA South East awards. Lemon Sour IPA was created to mark Real Ale’s 14th anniversary since opening its first shop on Richmond Road, East Twickenham.

JW Lees increased its turnover to a record £78,385,739 to March 31 — a year-on-year increase of 10.7%. Investment during the year included the creation of the new Boilerhouse small-batch brewery.

Joseph Holt is to open an airside microbrewery at Manchester Airport’s new Super Terminal. The Bridgewater Exchange will be a partnership with The Restaurant Group and is due to open in the spring.

Members of Parliament who champion Britain’s beer industry were honoured with an award in Parliament. A select group of MPs were chosen to be honoured as a BBPA Beer Champion and presented with a trophy, in partnership with Long Live the Local.

Some 45 cyclists taking part in the 220-mile Goatham’s Great Kent Cycle Ride 2019 stopped off at the Royal, Tankerton, for lunch, and a pint or two, courtesy of Shepherd Neame. The marathon ride, now an annual event, raises funds for Help for Heroes and the Kent Sports Trust, which helps people in the county access sport and recreation activities.

Camden Fresh as HellsCamden Town Brewery has unveiled a new ad campaign, Fresh as Hells, celebrating the fresh approach it takes to brewing. Produced by the team at Forever Beta, the campaign marks the launch of the brand’s newly articulated brand positioning of ‘fresh thinking, fresh drinking’.

Wye Valley Brewery has collaborated with Tennis Wales to create its first lager. Named after the year the brewery was founded, 1985 is a refreshing lager that boasts a moreish, malty base, flecked with delicate tangerine notes. Pale in colour but big in flavour, 1985 is brewed with British hops and European lager hops.

Model turned pub licensee Jodie Kidd has been named beer drinker of the year by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group. Group chairman, Mike Wood MP, said: “Jodie has been a tireless campaigner for UK beer and pubs.  Last October she led a delegation of brewers and fellow publicans to deliver a petition with over 100,000 signatures to 10 Downing Street that had been collected as part of the Long Live the Local Campaign.  This called for action in the Budget of the eye wateringly high level of tax paid by UK beer and pubs. UK beer drinkers were enormously grateful that the Chancellor heeded their call. Jodie is vivid proof that beer and pub lovers are not all old, male and stale!”

Sambrook’s Brewery is to move to the Ram Quarter, in Wandsworth, London, at one time home to Young’s brewery. Sambrook’s is currently based in Battersea.

Sean Knight has been named as the new head brewer at Siren Craft Brew. Knight was previously head brewer at Sambrook’s, and head of operations at Purpure. Current head brewer, Kyle Larsen, is leaving to set up his own brewery, Kings and Daughters, with his wife, Kacie.

West Berkshire Brewery has succeeded in raising  £1.8m in its latest round of fundraising, according to industry website Propel. The money will provide working capital and support pub acquisitions.

Hard Labor is the latest beer to appear as part of Cask Club, the contemporary cask ale initiative from Shepherd Neame. An American-style double IPA, Hard Labor (4.6% ABV) is hopped four times during the brewing process, with Target, Chinook and Azacca all helping to give the beer a robust flavour and citrus and tropical notes.

Sussex-based Bedlam Brewery saw revenue rise 47% year on year in the quarter to June 30. The company is currently looking to raise £800,000 on Crowdcube to invest in the brewery and expand the business.

Essex-based maltster Bairds has seen turnover rise to more than £200m, thanks to growing markets for craft beers and whisky. It is investing £51m in its site at Arbroath, Scotland, to help keep up with demand.

DDH Pale (4% ABV), double dry hopped with Citra and Mosaic, is a new monthly special from Old Dairy Brewery. It is available in cask and 330ml bottles.

The finalists in the fourth annual Scottish Beer Awards have been announced, with 37 breweries and 200 beers brewed in Scotland progressing to the finals of the competition. Some 297 beers were tasted blind by 28 judges, who included many of the UK’s foremost brewing and beer experts. The winners will be announced on September 19.

Shetland mead producer Viking Mead Ltd has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund ambitious growth plans, which include the creation of a new brewery in Voe, Shetland. When completed, the brewery will be capable of producing around 3000 litres of product per week.

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