Skip to main content
22nd November 2012

Beer Set To Be Nationwide Smash – -Forgotten ale goes on sale after 35 years-

A vintage ale which lay forgotten for 35 years – and was only re-discovered after a bottle of the brew blew up – goes on sale nationwide today exclusively at Aldi.

The Bateman’s Vintage Ale (£3.29; 500ml) is based on a 1976 vintage bottle of Bateman’s BBB which was brewed for over 50 years at the family run and owned brewery in Wainfleet near Skegness.

35 years ago, the family made the decision to stop brewing and bottling their barley wine – BBB, to concentrate on draught ale. At the end of the last bottling run George Bateman, then Managing Director, took the last four cases with the intention of opening them to toast his eldest son Stuart’s twenty-first birthday, four years on.

Over time though the bottles were forgotten, and it wasn’t until just over a year ago that the stash of ale came to light, when a bottle exploded of its own accord. As the head draftsman cleared up the mess and dragged the remaining bottles out from where they had been hidden for 35 years, Stuart, now in his 50s, discovered the treat his dad had saved for him decades before.

Upon opening one of the bottles, Stuart, who had presumed the contents would be spoiled, was astounded to find the beer clean, bright and brilliantly drinkable. After sampling, Stuart and Bateman’s Master Brewer decided that the flavour was so great that they wanted to recreate the beer for more than just the family to enjoy.

Over the course of six months, Stuart and the master brewer matched the flavours perfectly using old brew records and multiple tastings. Then, seven months ago, the current vintage was put into conditioning in oak casks for a distinctive character, thereby creating a limited release of the Bateman’s Vintage Ale.

Stuart Bateman, Managing Director of Bateman’s Brewery comments:
“When we found the ale I was incredibly touched by the sentiment of my dad all those years ago. Looking at the bottles though, I didn’t hold out much hope of anything other than vinegar! But once we’d managed to remove the rusty crown cap and poured the ale into a glass I was surprised to see it was clean and clear. Sipping it down, the taste was out of this world – it was malty, beery with a wonderful taste of port, brandy, wine and almonds. Having worked in this industry for more than thirty years I would still say it is the best beer I’ve ever tasted.

“And that’s why we’ve chosen to recreate the ale this Christmas so that hundreds of others can taste this amazing piece of history. I’ll be enjoying mine with some Christmas pudding.”

The ale, which has been made from a single variety of hops grown in Kent, is described as “full flavoured with notes of plum pudding and sherry mixed with rich fruits” and reminiscent of beers fashionable in the Dickensian era.

Tony Baines, MD Buying at Aldi comments:
“Aldi has had a strong working relationship with Bateman’s for eight years now and when Stuart approached us to sell this ale on an exclusive basis we knew it was something our customers would enjoy. The beer is like nothing else on the market with its incredible taste of Christmas – and has a wonderful story behind it too.”

The beer goes on shelf at Aldi stores nationwide on 22nd November and is available while stocks last.


For further information, please contact the Aldi BWS press office: / 020 7343 3142 / 07835 207 866 / 020 7479 0910