As it is the Jubilee Weekend (or rather four days), I have a Jubilee related post on both Saturday and Sunday. Tomorrow’s post is one of my usual posts, with photos of previous events. For today’s post, I dug out my collection of 1977 Jubilee beers and 1981 Royal Wedding beers from the cobweb filled corner of the garage.
The late 1970s and early 1980s involved a lot of pubs. For some reason that I cannot really remember, in 1977 I collected any special Jubilee beer that I could find in pubs across London and Essex. Probably the novelty of finally being able to legally buy alcohol in a pub without any issues.
They have been boxed and stored away for the last 45 years, but I thought I would get them out for this weekend and see how many of the breweries, brewing Jubilee beer in 1977 still exist.
Young & Co – Silver Sovereign, brewed at the Ram Brewery in Wandsworth:
Young’s closed the Ram brewery in 2006, and are now a pub company. Their beers were initially brewed by a joint venture with Charles Wells in Bedford, but they have since sold their share in the brewery venture.
They still have a head office in Wandsworth, close to the location of their original brewery.
Wadworths – Queen’s Ale:
Wadworths are still brewing beer at their brewery in Devizes, Wiltshire, but according to their website, they do not appear to have a Jubilee beer for 2022. They had an impressive beer label in 1977.
Greene, King & Sons – Jubilee Ale
Greene, King & Sons are still brewing at their brewery in Bury St. Edmunds, however again according to their website they do not appear to have a Jubilee beer for 2022.
Shepherd Neame – Silver Jubilee Ale
Shepheard Neame are also still brewing at Faversham, Kent, and have produced a “Celebration Ale” for the 2022 Jubilee, however this is only available in casks in pubs rather than bottled.
Paine & Co – Silver Jubilee Ale
A company that appears to have sold their pubs and brewery to a rival brewers in the 1980s. The name disappeared and the brewery would later close.
Fullers – Celebration Brew
Fullers seem to have gone with a rather basic label for their Celebration Brew, although is does include a picture of a Griffin, from their Griffin brewery in Chiswick. They are still at the Chiswick brewery, however the Fullers company sold the brewery to Japanese international drinks company Asahi, and Fullers are now just a pub company with Asahi owning the brewery and producing beers under the Fullers name.
Fullers do not appear to be brewing a beer for the 2022 Jubilee.
Ridleys – Jubilee Ale
Ridleys were brought by Greene King, who then closed their brewery near Chelmsford, Essex, and stopped producing the majority of beers under the Ridleys name. A rather nice silver label for their Jubilee Ale.
Morells – Celebration Ale
The Morells company, along with their Oxford brewery closed in 1998.
Hall & Woodhouse – Bicentenary Ale
Hall & Woodhouse appear to have ignored the 1977 Jubilee, preferring to celebrate their 200 year anniversary.
They are still in business with pubs and the same brewery in Blandford, Dorset, however as with the 1977 Jubilee, they do not appear to have a Jubilee beer for 2022.
Adnams – Royal Ale
Adnams based in Southwold, Suffolk are still in operation, and producing beers from their own brewery. Unfortunately there appears to be no Jubilee Ale for 2022, although Adnams have branched out to produce Gin and Vodka as well as beers.
Royal Wedding Beers – 1981
On the same theme, the Royal Wedding in 1981 between Charles and Diana also resulted in a number of breweries producing special beers to commemorate the event.
Gibbs Mew & Co – Royal Heritage
Gibbs Mew & Co of Salisbury brewed a Royal Heritage beer, and their bottle featured St Paul’s Cathedral.
The company closed their Salisbury brewery in 1997 and continued as a pub chain, however the pubs and the company were sold to Enterprise Inns in 2011.
Devenish – Wedding Ale
Devenish was another Dorset brewery, and followed the same fate as Gibbs Mew.
Devenish closed their brewery in 1985, and continued as a pub operator until 1993 when the company was sold to Greenalls.
Berni – Royal Reception
If you fancied a beer in 1981 to go with your Berni Prawn Cocktail, Steak and Chips and Black Forest Gateau, then a bottle of their Royal Reception strong ale could be yours.
Berni was one of the pub / restaurant chains that would bring the experience of going out for a meal in the 1970s to the masses. Relatively cheap, good service and a simple, standard menu helped with the popularity of the chain, and the most brought meal of Prawn Cocktail, Steak and Chips and Black Forest Gateau becoming representative of eating out in the late 1970s.
Berni Inns was sold to Whitbread in 1995 who rebranded the chain to become part of the Beefeater resturants.
Brains – Prince’s Ale
Brains offered their Prince’s Ale in 1981. The brewery was based in Cardiff, where they are still brewing, but no special beers for the Jubilee that I can find on their website.
Fullers – Celebration Brew
Fullers Jubilee beer had a rather simple label, however they went with a more ornate label for their Celebration Brew to mark the 1981 Royal Wedding.
Greene King – Royal Wedding Ale
Greene King produced their Royal Wedding Ale. The label looks as if it was only designed at the last moment when it would have been too late to produce a more ornate label, so they went with a simple text based label.
St Austell Brewery – Prince’s Ale
The St Austell Brewery’s Prince’s Ale was rather unusual in that it was a Barley Wine.
Barley Wine is a type of beer, but is generally much stronger than a normal beer, probably why their bottle was smaller than the typical bottle of the time.
The St Austell Brewery is located in St Austell, Cornwall and the brewery and company are still in operation. They do have a Jubilee Beer called “Thank Brew” which apparently is part of an initiative by breweries, pubs and communities to produce a special beer for the Jubilee, and they are selling a bottled Platinum Jubilee Ale, which has a rather nice label.
J. Arkell and Sons – Royal Wedding Ale
Arkell’s had a rather impressive, gold label to their Royal Wedding Ale.
The company, based in Swindon is still brewing beer, but does not appear to be brewing a Jubilee beer.
Camerons – Royal Wedding Ale
Camerons featured a drawing of St Paul’s Cathedral on the label of their Royal Wedding Ale.
Camerons are still brewing in Hartlepool, Teeside, and whilst they do not appear to have a Jubilee beer, they have teamed up with the band Motorhead and have a Road Crew beer available both in draft and bottles.
Based on that small survey it seems that there are a very small number of beers brewed for the 2022 Jubilee, and I have not seen any on recent pub visits.
Probably brewers have to be more commercially focused these days, and the costs of producing a one off product outweigh the potential benefits.
What I did notice when revisiting all these bottles was that the labels do not show the alcohol content / ABV. If you were drinking a bottle of Berni’s Royal Reception Strong Ale, then you had no idea what strong actually meant.
The excellent Boak & Bailey site has researched the introduction of this labelling and found that it was a result of the UK implementing an EEC (European Economic Community) directive, and that labeling beers with the alcohol content became law on the 17th July, 1989.
All these 1977 Jubilee beers and 1981 Royal Wedding beers are unopened, although I very much doubt their contents are drinkable. and probably very unwise to try.
They will now be returned to a very dusty corner of the garage.
Whatever you are drinking (or not), I hope you are having a very good Jubilee four days.