Ever wondered how your favourite golden beverage wound up in your glass? You might be aware of which beer brands you enjoy best, but it’s often forgotten that the most famous ones are the result of decades of hard work, research and experimentation.
Here, we explore the origins and heritage of three major beer brewers, each one a long-standing member of the Wetherspoon family.
Brewed exclusively in Burton-on-Trent, Carling is widely recognised as Britain’s number-one beer brand, with one in every four pints sold across the on-trade being a Carling.
This is a brand which takes provenance and purity seriously, using only 100% Red Tractor-assured British barley. In total, 157 farmers make up the Carling suppliers’ family, known as the Molson Coors Growers Group, and they help to harvest 100,000 tonnes of barley which go into making the Carling brew.
Carling also uses only British-grown hops, using growers in Worcestershire and Hertfordshire who supply exclusively to Carling. Another one of the brewer’s key ingredients happens to be the water from Burton itself, which has just the right balance of salts and minerals to make it brilliant for brewing. The beer is checked at least 200 times throughout the brewing process and tested at every stage, ensuring that superior quality goes into every can.
Carling recently rebuilt its premises in 2011 to create ‘Britain’s best brewery’, using state-of-the-art infrastructure and technology. It’s only due to the company’s painstaking approach and heartfelt passion for brewing that thousands of people are able to enjoy this beer in Wetherspoon pubs nationwide.
Most people associate Foster’s beer with the light-hearted Aussie lads who fronted the famous TV ads. However, Foster’s really was founded in Melbourne, back in 1888, by the two Foster brothers – William and Ralph. Under the blazing sun, the brothers went to great lengths, through state-of-the art brewing and sheer Aussie ingenuity, to keep their beer chilled and deliver ultimate refreshment to the thirsty citizens of Melbourne. This included transporting massive blocks of ice, by horse and cart, at night, and building an incredible six miles of pipeline to bring cold sea water all the way from the ocean to the brewery.
Made with water, malted barley, a careful blend of hops and the unique Australian ‘Foster’s yeast’, this highly popular Amber Nectar has now been a UK favourite for over 40 years, having first been imported in 1971. As well as for its golden-amber colour, medium malt character and subtle hints of vanilla, the brand is also loved for its sense of humour – which has come to be the basis of all its ad campaigns and sets it apart from the rest of the market.
Like the brothers who created it, Foster’s philosophy is that life is always better when you grab opportunities and, with a little Aussie perspective, give them a go, making the most of every day. Foster’s is ‘For The Thirsty’; a brand for those who are thirsty for life, thirsty for experience, for adventure, for stories and, ultimately, for a refreshing Foster’s. Foster’s now wants to bring this attitude to cricket, giving drinkers unique experiences and stories to share over a pint at the bar, through its partnership with the English Cricket Board.
Heineken UK took over the brewing of Foster’s in 2008, and the brand continues to be one of the most highly sold beers in Wetherspoon over the last 30 years. It’s now at home in Manchester, where every pint is still crafted as William and Ralph would have wanted, with the original Aussie ‘Foster’s yeast’. This ensures that every pint is as crisp and refreshing now as it was in 1888.
Originally founded in Copenhagen, in 1847, this Danish beer is the result of a long history of research and development from which probably the whole industry has benefited. Although it was JC Jacobsen who brewed the first Carlsberg in 1845, it was his son Carl who later built his own brewery to cope with the high demand. If he hadn’t, this lager may never have found its way into our establishments today… for which we thank Carl’s dad.
Carlsberg was the first company to find a way of purifying yeast, in 1883, before which only wild yeasts were used. Now, almost all lagers are brewed with a yeast derived from Carlsberg yeast, which has given rise to an incredible range of new brands and flavours. When this yeast is combined with Carlsberg’s unique all-malt recipe, however, it brings about a distinct taste which fans have come to know and love.
The barley used at the Carlsberg brewery, in Northampton, is a 100% British-grown variety called Null-Lox, grown using traditional non-GM techniques. It’s the staling enzymes bred from this same variety which give the lager its long-lasting freshness and a sustained head – all the way down to the bottom of the glass.
Many people wonder why Carlsberg calls itself ‘the best beer in the world’, but it really is quite simple. The beer actually won the title of Best Beer at the World Trade Exhibition in Paris, back in 1912, since when the accolade has been part of the Carlsberg branding. The brand also has a strong presence with sports fans, being the official beer of the England team for 20 years, as well as the official beer of the UEFA Euro 2016.
With the 2018 World Cup on the horizon, this iconic beer brand is set to remain a firm Wetherspoon favourite, fuelling the celebrations for many games to come.
See the full range of beers available at your local Wetherspoon, to enjoy either alone or with a burger, burrito or deli meal deal.