Batemans Brewing History
In 1874 there was only one beer produced in the Brewery but by 1960 this had grown to eight. These were three draught beers – a light mild, a dark mild and XB bitter and five bottled beers: IPA, Double Brown, Nut Brown, Dinner Ale and B.B.B. Up until the mid 1970’s naturally conditioned Guinness, Bass and Worthington was also bottled at Batemans.
Up to 1995 Batemans bottled their own beers. The original range of IPA, Nut Brown, Double Brown and Dinner Ale was joined by Victory Ale, a beer brewed in conjunction with CAMRA to celebrate the end for the ‘Battle for Independence’ and subsequently Triple XB and Valiant. The latter three were not only sold in Supermarkets throughout the UK but also in North America, Japan and Europe.
As volumes grew a decision had to be made about whether to invest in new bottling equipment or have the bottling contracted out.
It was decided to develop a partnership with Marstons who now bottle an extensive range which includes XXXB, Combined Harvest, Dark Lord and Victory Ale and a number of seasonal favourites.
On the cask beer side, Batemans Brewery now brew five permanent brands. Dark Mild, which has been voted Mild of the Year by CAMRA three times, XB, XXXB, which since being voted “Beer of the Year” at the Great British Beer Festival by CAMRA in 1986 and Premium Beer of the Year five times, Salem Porter which has been voted Winter Beer of the Year in 1997 and 2005 by CAMRA, then in 2009 G.H.A. Pale (Good Honest Ales) was added to the portfolio of permanent cask beers. G.H.A. is a delicious pale beer, clean, crisp and zesty. ABV 4.2%.
Batemans has also become known for specialist beers and beer concepts. The first of these unique propositions was “Mr. George’s Unique Flavours”. These were beers brewed slightly differently from the norm using various fruits of the season and other interesting flavours, e.g. strawberries, vanilla and liquorice to name but a few. The strawberry beer went down very well - the only problem was that it was difficult to get the flavour of strawberries out of the pipes!
This range was followed by Mystic Brews; the names and flavours of the beers were characteristic of the star sign, e.g. Leo was called Leo Golden Mane and was a powerful, golden beer. Mystic Brews ran for two years.
In 1998 the famous Jolly Fisherman of Skegness celebrated his 90th birthday. To commemorate this occasion the first ever long-term partnership between a brewer and its local council evolved. Batemans brewed a different beer each month known as Jolly’s Jaunts, which saw the character visiting a location each month where a special event was being celebrated. The World Cup, the Five Nations, Wimbledon etc. were all featured. This range was so successful that by the end of the year 'Jolly' had become a brand in its own right and it was decided to continue the concept.
The 1999 range was known as Jolly's Generation; it represented Jolly's ancestors as pioneers, explorers and inventor over the last 1000 years leading up to the Millennium Celebrations.
2000 continued with the theme of the Jolly Fisherman known as Jolly’s Follies. This year he was partaking in the major sporting and social events which were taking place each month throughout the year. The pump clips became three dimensional.
Calendar Girls range of beers joined the seasonal beers in 2000. It consisted of five beers produced as an off shoot of the Jolly range with the pictorial on the pump clips, very tongue in cheek, showing the traditional landlady. At least one these beers are still brewed each year. For the first time Batemans brewed an organic beer Yella Belly, using organic hops and barley.
Winter Wellies, Spring Breeze, Summer Swallow and Autumn Fall became part of the seasonal portfolio; the latter three are still continued each year in both bottle and cask form. In November 2000 Batemans brewed its first Christmas beer. Rosey Nosey became an instant hit with consumers up and down the land and the face of Father Christmas continues appeared on the cask and the bottle every Christmas.
With Batemans already renowned for its fun pump clips and names, few were surprised by Rosey Nosey, although many were amused by the close up image of Santa with his flashing red nose and fluffy beard as well as the bells at the end of his hat.
The 2001 concept was GOOD HONEST T' ALES which continued in 2002. This was a series of beers depicting characters and events through history which were part reality and part fantasy. The beers were all unique brews using various styles of malt and different hop varieties.
In 2002 Batemans were the first to brew a multi grain beer, Combined Harvest. This beer is brewed using a blend of malted oats, rye, wheat and barley. Most premium ales are brewed only with malted barley. The bottle version can still be found throughout the year on supermarket shelves and along with Triple XB, Victory Ale and Dark Lord, as well as Rosey Nosey during the Christmas period in various different parts of the globe.
Batemans have also brewed a beer called England Expects, for any cricket, football or rugby international game being played. The first year this was brewed was for the European football match in Portugal 2004. Unfortunately England did not get very far in the tournament so in 2006 a two way pump clip was produced. The front cover came off to say ‘We Blow’n It’. The for the World Cup football in 2010 a three way clip was produced with the last clip saying ‘Winner’!
To continue the theme of fun pump clips for Valentines Day Batemans have produced a pump clip for XB and XXXB, both in the shape of a heart but made out of candy. There is also a special pump clip for Easter, EGGS-B, in the shape of an Easter egg and made from edible chocolate.
In 2009 through to 2010 a range of Miss World beers were brewed. They feature 12 beers with, once again tongue in cheek, pictorial pump clips represented by 12 national beauties from the corners of the globe. It beauty was related to an event that was happening in their country in the relevant month.
2010 Rosey Nosey was once again brewed for Christmas and again went flying out of the Brewery both in bottle and cask. However, this year the beer could not only be found on Christmas Day tables throughout the U.K. but also in the export market. December 2011 Miss Lapland was added to celebrate the Christmas season. With an 4.2% A.B.V. a distinctive beer brewed using a combination of four classic hop varieties and three malts, to create a full bodied psicy, flavoursome beer. The pumpclip design from the Miss World concept.
A good deal of evidence was showing that high alcoholic beers, above 4.5%, were a deterrent to beer drinkers who were not dedicated drinkers of a brand, therefore, in March 2011 it was decided to drop the A.B.V. of cask XXXB from 4.8% to 4.5% which immediately increased distribution and became a brand of choice for more people who drank across a range of ale brands with A.B.V. of 4.0% to 4.5%.
This would not have been done if it was thought that it would disappoint the regular XXXB drinkers, but extensive taste panels were conducted both in-house and external flavour assessors. All instances were that 4.5% XXXB was undistinguishable from the 4.8%. The flavour match between the two versions was so good that even the Head Brewer could not taste the difference in a blind taste test.
The bottle Triple XB(XXXB) remained at 4.8% as purchase decisions for the take home market are made on a different basis.
March 2012 the brewhouse was used by the Norwegian brewer, Nogne 0, for the brewing of their beer called 'Nogne 0 Bitter'. ABV of 4.5% - a light session ale with an assertive hop aroma of East Kent Golding. The head brewer from Nogne O, Kjetil Jikium, came over to the Brewery in March to brew the beer using his own recipe and raw materials. The beer suppplied over 1,000 barrels iinto JD Wetherspoon.
In September a new permanent draught beer was launched Yella Belly Gold. A.B.V. 3.9% a light citrus golden beer brewed with lager malt, Cascade and Chinook hops. In September the name was changed to Batemans Gold.
For the first time pump clip was not in the usual Bateman clover shape and at the side of the clip hangs a tag which one side has the name of the hops and the other a CR Code.
After several months of research a new different flavour of beer was put forward for the Sainsbury's Great British Beer Hunt challenge in October 2012. Mocha Beer brewed using Arabica coffee beans and Belguim chocolate. 120 beers were orginally put forward for the challenge and Mocha won given it six months in Sainsbury's stores nationally.
Click here to download our Brewing Process leaflet.