M&S Awarded 12 Medals at The International Beer Challenge

British premium retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) was awarded 12 medals at this year’s International Beer Challenge. Our wins include seven bronzes, three silvers and an impressive two golds – one of which was awarded to the Sandringham Estate Diamond Ale, which was made by blending pale ale malt from the Sandringham Estate with an English Hop that was bred a decade ago to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Below are a selection of some of the newest beers that won medals at this year’s Beer Challenge, all of which are a result of M&S teaming up with regional brewers to launch a range of specialty British beers…M&S even added Union Jack bottle tops.

Sandringham Diamond Ale: GOLD MEDAL
Case of 20: £51.80
Per Bottle: £2.59
Elgoods Brewery, in the heart of the Cambridgeshire Fens, has been in the Elgood family since 1878. To make this special celebration ale, we’ve used fittingly special ingredients: pale ale malt from barley grown on the Sandringham Estate (the variety of barley is called Westminster), together with an English hop variety called Sovereign that was bred a decade ago to mark the Queen’s golden jubilee. This refreshing golden ale goes very well with light summery dishes like chicken or fish, and would be perfect at a barbecue.

Bottle Conditioned Cornish Ale: GOLD MEDAL
Case of 20: £45.80
Per Bottle: £2.29
Everyone loves the current Cornish IPA, so we decided to take a second beer from the St Austell brewery.  As delicious as the IPA, but a very different style of beer. This bottle conditioned ale has been uniquely brewed using locally grown Cornish gold malt, traditionally malted using a special kilning process to develop a deep bronze color and intense flavor. The sweet, lightly nutty malt balances well with zesty orange and spicy aromas from the hops.   This beer works very well with traditional favorites like cottage pie or fisherman’s pie  – or tries it with a roast chicken dinner.

On the front label we have used the traditional fishing boats, known as luggers that were once a common sight along the coast of Cornwall.

Greenwich Red Ale: SILVER MEDAL
Case of 6: £29.94
Per Bottle: £4.99
We have launched a larger, sharing bottle of Greenwich Red Ale from the Meantime brewery. Perfect to share with friends and family over a BBQ.  On the front label there is an image of the Red Time ball on top of Flamsteed House, at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, which is one of the world’s earliest public time signals and is still in operation today.

This red ale has been brewed using crystal malts and caramel malts to create its distinctive deep copper red color and medium body. Its sweet maltiness is perfectly balanced by the refreshing fruitiness from 5 different types of hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington State. This well-balanced beer goes well with everything from fish dishes through to meaty casseroles, and is also very refreshing enjoyed on its own.

Southwold Blonde Beer: BRONZE MEDAL
Case of 20: £43.40
Per Bottle: £2.19
A fantastic refreshing citrus summer beer from the Adnams Brewery in Southwold Suffolk. Created by Adnams’ Master Brewer, this pale yet full flavored beer is made using a blend of East Anglian malted barley and wheat. Boadicea and First Gold hops from England, and Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand combine to create the subtle citrus notes and refreshing flavour. Delicious chilled on its own, this refreshing citrusy beer also works well with chicken and seafood, salads, or lightly spiced dishes.

Somerset Ginger Beer: BRONZE MEDAL
Case of 20: £43.80
Per Bottle: £2.19
A new beer from a new brewery to Marks & Spencer, Bath Ales. The design of this label is focused around Bath stone, which was used extensively during the Georgian era, the elegant building represents the striking symmetrical architecture typical of the period. This light and refreshing ginger beer is brewed with a blend of amber, pale and chocolate malts, nugget and brambling cross hops. Grated root ginger is added to the beer when brewing, resulting in a balanced, full-bodied beer with a subtle lingering spicy finish. This beer goes well with fragrant Asian dishes such as sushi or a Thai curry. It’s also perfect with barbecued meats or simply as a refreshing thirst quencher.



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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.