Surrey-based Hogs Back Brewery has secured a listing with Tesco for its Little Swine 2.8% beer, launched in pubs earlier this year. Bottles of the beer will be available in around 200 of the retailer’s stores from August.
Billed as a ‘Small Beer with a Big Flavour’, Little Swine meets consumer demand for low alcohol beers that fully deliver on flavour. Hogs Back initially launched Little Swine in February this year in keg. It is a dry-hopped, aromatic pale ale, brewed with a blend of aroma hops, including the citrussy Cascade grown in the Hogs Back hop garden and American Mosaic hops with complementary tropical notes. The beer is then dry hopped for additional aroma and flavour.
Tesco is the first major retailer to take Little Swine in bottles. Hogs Back has adapted the pump clip design to create an eye-catching bottle label which features the iconic Hogs Back hog, reduced in size to reflect the beer’s name. The neck label communicates Hogs Back’s ‘Field to Firkin in a Furlong’ positioning, based on the 200 yards distance from the hop garden to the brewhouse.
A 330ml bottle of Little Swine contains less than one unit of alcohol and will be included in Tesco’s ‘four for £6’ bottled beer offer.
Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said: “We’re delighted to have secured this significant listing for Little Swine with Tesco, which takes our small beer to a big audience.
“We’re very proud of Little Swine, our first low-alcohol beer. Our brewing team have created a beer with all the taste of our full strength range, using additional hops and malts to compensate for the lower ABV. This beer is for drinkers who love the taste of beer but want to moderate the amount of alcohol units they drink, perhaps so they can enjoy a beer at lunchtime or a few in the evening and still keep a clear head for the afternoon or next day.
“Drinkers loved Little Swine on draught and we’re sure the bottled version will be just as popular.”
Hugo Murray, Buying Manager for Ale and Stout at Tesco said: “I am looking forward to Hogs Back Little Swine coming in to Tesco in August. Low alcohol beers are a new direction for the Surrey brewery and Little Swine is very on trend, a small beer packed with hops, juicy and crisp. Best enjoyed cold, it’s the perfect drink for summer.”
Little Swine was one of three new keg beers launched by Hogs Back at Craft Beer Rising this year, where they also unveiled a new design for their Hogstar lager. The new Hogstar design is being rolled out on bottles and cans over the summer.
Volume sales of low/no alcohol beers have grown by 60% in the off-trade since 2017. Younger and more affluent consumers are most likely to buy low/no alcohol beers, but one in five consumers say they have been deterred by the taste. (Source: Marston’s Off-Trade Beer Report 2019/20)
Notes to editors
- Hogs Back produces Little Swine using a different method from the reverse osmosis or vacuum distillation, which many brewers use to remove all alcohol. Instead, Hogs Back brew to accentuate the flavour, but modify their recipe to have fewer fermentables, and control the fermentation process very carefully.
Hogs Back Brewery
- Hogs Back Brewery was founded in 1992 in Tongham, in the heart of the traditional Surrey hop growing area.
- Its flagship brand TEA, or Traditional English Ale, is one of the leading regional ales in the South East. The first beer brewed by Hogs Back in 1992, TEA has won multiple awards including runner-up in CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain in 2000. Distribution of TEA is currently at an all-time high.
- The Hogs Back Brewery range includes a number of award-winning draught and bottled beers. Launches over recent years include Hogstar lager, Hog IPA and Montezuma’s Chocolate Lager, demonstrating Hogs Back’s ability to combine brewing expertise and tradition with product innovation to create distinctive, memorable beers. In 2013, Hogs Back also launched a traditional cloudy cider, Hazy Hog, which won a Bronze medal in the International Cider Challenge earlier this year.
- Hogs Back planted a hop garden adjacent to its brewery in 2014, growing three hop varieties: Fuggles – used in its flagship TEA ale; Cascade – used in Hogstar lager; and Farnham White Bine, used in a limited-edition bottled beer of the same name.
- Hogs Back recently relocated its hop garden and announced plans to build a hop kiln and warehouse, as part of a £700,000 investment also covering hop picking and packing machinery and further brewery developments.
- At 8.5 acres, the new hop garden is nearly three times the size of the previous one and when fully mature will provide 50% of Hogs Back’s hops.
- The new kiln will be used to dry Hogs Back’s hops for around one month a year. For the rest of the year, it will serve as an event space and visitor centre, educating people about the local hop farming industry which Hogs Back is helping to revive.
- Siting the kiln and warehouse close to the hop garden means hops can be dried immediately after picking and will be packed within 24 hours using state-of-the-art vacuum packing technology to capture the hops’ freshness.
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