Beer connoisseurs club marks anniversary with special tasting event at The Griffin Brewery
London’s only traditional brewery, Fuller, Smith & Turner P.L.C., has marked the 10th anniversary of the Fuller’s Fine Ale Club with a once in a lifetime tasting event at The Griffin Brewery in Chiswick.
The Fine Ale Club began in 1999 as an idea to bring together those people with a passion for the better things in life, particularly fine ale. In the first year the club signed up over 3,000 members, but today that number stands at a staggering 25,000, with at least one member in every postcode area in England.
The club is free to join and provides its members with a number of benefits, including a quarterly magazine full of information, offers and competitions. Members can also get exclusive opportunities to meet Fuller’s head brewer, John Keeling, at one of the many dedicated Fuller’s Fine Ale Club Roadshows held around the country.
The anniversary tasting event, held in the Hock Cellar at Fuller’s Griffin Brewery on Wednesday, December 2, 2009, was strictly by invitation only and attended by Fuller’s directors, some of the UK’s leading beer writers and 25 lucky Fine Ale Club members and guests. The Fine Ale Club members secured their places by submitting a report on a beer tasting event that they were encouraged to hold themselves.
Speaking at the celebration, managing director of The Fuller’s Beer Company, John Roberts, said: “When we first came up with the idea of a Fuller’s Fine Ale Club, the beer landscape in this country was completely different. Customers were far more likely to be talking about different varieties of grape than hops or malt.
“But the Fuller’s Fine Ale Club seemed to come about at exactly the right time and our members were among the first to start talking to their friends about the unique flavours and character in beer. I am delighted that through a simple idea and humble beginnings we have played a big part in the way in which our customers now approach their beer. We have what I believe is the best portfolio of any brewer and are in the perfect position to highlight to beer drinkers the variety and complexity of this wonderful drink.
“No other brewer has such a loyal band of appreciative consumers and they are an asset that we take very seriously. We like to reward their loyalty with events such as this, and also with access to some of our unique beers.”
John Keeling, Fuller’s head brewer, added: “The tasting was incredibly well attended and it was a pleasure to run through some of our fine ales, such as the magnificent bottle-conditioned 1845 and Gales Prize Old Ale, with such an attentive audience.
“The success of one of the beers we tasted in particular, Brewer’s Reserve No.1, which was matured for 500 days in 30 year-old whisky barrels, really shows how far the beer market has come in the last 10 years. When it was launched last year, it caused a real stir with people everywhere commenting knowledgeably on its amazing flavours and aromas. I couldn’t imagine that happening 10 years ago.
“The way people perceive beer has changed and it is people like the Fuller’s Fine Ale Club members who have led that change