Press Centre

First time lucky as new beer wins competition

THEY say rubbing Buddha’s tummy brings good luck – and it certainly has for the winner of ASDA’s latest beer competition.

Lucky Beer, which comes in a unique Buddha-shaped bottle, beat off a range of other lagers to win the contest.

Now the Australian-brewed beer will be available at ASDA from January, the first time it will have been on sale at a UK supermarket.

Michael Cook of Kent-based Pierhead Purchasing, which has brought Lucky Beer to the UK, said: “In the current climate, it’s essential that new beers offer real a point of difference. Lucky has an ultra stylish appearance and high production values, which we expect will create excitement among ASDA’s customers.”

Breweries entered over 100 products into ASDA’s beer competition, all vying for the prize of a 12-week listing in store.

Standards were high, with products being judged on taste, packaging, design and labelling. Beer writers Ben McFarland, Melissa Cole, and Jeff Evans joined ASDA experts to undertake blind taste testing as part of the judging.

Lucky Beer – which is already popular in its Australian homeland and was launched in the US last year – won the lager category. Three other winners also secured an ASDA 12-week listing in the competition:

Cider – Henney’s 2007 Vintage Still Cider

Ale – St Peter’s India Pale Ale

Speciality – Meantime Wheat

All products will be in store from January priced between £1.28 and £1.58.

Jill Wilson, ASDA’s beer buyer, said: “We were really pleased with the calibre of all the entries and are very excited by winning beers, which will give our customers a chance to try new, quality products.”

Further information on the winning beers is below:

Lager – Lucky Beer (£1.28)
Lucky Beer (4.8% vol / 330ml) is an Asian-style lager brewed using 100% natural ingredients. It aims to fuse authentic Asian traditions and contemporary Australian brewing techniques to create a modern beer.

Its classic style is made with a small amount of rice, malted barley and Czech Saaz hops, to ensure a crisp dry finish.

The bottling process is complex given the unique shape of the green Buddha bottle and a customized bottling line keeps all bottles in alignment to ensure the filling and crown sealing are as precise as possible before pasteurisation.

Lucky Beer is the brainchild of Aussie father and son Phil and Charles Smouha and has been brought into the UK by Kent-based Pierhead Purchasing, who entered it into ASDA’s beer competition.

Ale – St Peter’s India Pale Ale (£1.58)

St Peter’s IPA (5.5% vol / 500ml) was initially developed in 2006 for the brewery’s largest export market, the USA, where hoppy beers are very popular.

The beer was developed around traditional IPA recipes popular in the 1800s when beer was sent by sea to India and other British colonies. Consequently such beers had to be robust and highly hopped to withstand the long voyages to the Indian sub continent.

After a successful US launch, IPA was introduced in the UK last year.

Colin Cordy, managing director of Suffolk-based St Peter’s Brewery, said: "We are delighted to be a winner of the ASDA beer competition and look forward to seeing this beer in ASDA stores early in 2009.

St Peter’s India Pale Ale is a full bodied IPA with a zesty hop character."

St Peter’s India Pale Ale joins the brewery’s Organic Ale on the shelves of ASDA.

Cider – Henney’s 2007 Vintage Still Cider (£1.58)

Mike Henney started making cider as a hobby in 1996 and now his Herefordshire-based business produces thousands of gallons per year.

Henney’s Vintage is made from a single year’s pressing. The 2007 Vintage (6.5% vol / 500ml) is a traditional, still cider, medium dry with characteristic bittersweet cider apple flavour and soft tannins.All Henney’s ciders qualify for PGI Status for Herefordshire Cider. This Protected Geographic Indicator is a guarantee of ingredient and process quality.

Mike said: “I am absolutely delighted that my Vintage Cider was selected as the best cider new to ASDA and that it will now be more widely available. It really means a lot for a small producer and is testimony to the benefits of using highest quality ingredients, traditional techniques and taking no short cuts.”

Speciality – Meantime Wheat (£1.58)

Greenwich-based Meantime was founded in 2000 by Alastair Hook and in 2004 became the first British brewery to win medals at the World Beer Cup.

Its award-winning Wheat beer (5% vol / 330ml) is made using authentic Bavarian beer yeast and is fully matured. Bavarian wheat beer is one of the most difficult and temperamental beers to brew, with the pronounced toffee and banana notes all coming from its special yeast and not from added spices as in other wheat beers.

Alastair, who became fascinated by wheat beers while studying brewing in Munich, said: “We’re obviously delighted that we have won this competition and look forward to ASDA customers being able to enjoy our beer.”

Posted in Press Centre on 04 December 2008