The UK’s oldest brewery is helping a life-long football supporter achieve his goal of raising £20,000 for Birmingham’s Children Hospital.
Three Tuns Brewery, nestled in the picturesque Shropshire town of Bishop’s Castle, has thrown its support behind Steve Plant’s new ‘They Wore The Shirt Book’, which chronicles the proud history of Wolverhampton Wanderers football club through its collection of ‘Gold and Black’ strips.
Bosses at the company have agreed to mark the launch of the 256-page publication by brewing a specially crafted Indian Pale Ale, with five pubs already signed-up to stock the exclusive IPA over the next four weeks.
These include Park Tavern (Kingswinford), The Fox at Shipley, Slaters (Wolverhampton City Centre), The Harp and Platform Ale House (both Albrighton), with the limited edition brew expected to bring in more than £1000 for the charity.
John Russell, Managing Director of Three Tuns Brewery and himself an ardent Wolves fan, said: “Football and ale often go hand-in-hand and many a match has been dissected over a good pint between friends and family. When Steve came to me with his idea for a limited edition beer I jumped at the chance.”
He continued: “They Wore The Shirt is a really special publication and the amount of time and effort gone into producing it is phenomenal, especially for someone who is running his own business. As soon as I saw the draft of the book – featuring my own favourite shirts – I was sold and started brewing an IPA that would hit the spot.
“Not surprisingly, the ale carries the same name as the book and is a 5% Indian Pale Ale, which is based on a recipe from the 1850s following an approach from The Bishop of Hereford for a brew to cure an outbreak of agricultural depression. We’ve had some special pump clips produced and we’ve brewed eight barrels…when it’s gone it’s gone!”
They Wore The Shirt was officially launched at Molineux earlier this month in front of 250 people and, within two weeks, over 1000 have been sold.
Walter Zenga, the former manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers, was the first person to purchase the book and, with only 1877 copies printed, it is expected they will all be gone by the middle of November.
Available at the Wolves club shop and online at the megastore, the publication features 113 matchworn shirts, with supporters voting the Umbro 1977-79 home top as their favourite design.
The oldest replica shirt found and covered is from 1908 after it was discovered in a bric-a-brac shop in Alberta in Canada by its owner, who at first thought it was an old ice hockey shirt.
Steve Plant, who came up with the idea after his father passed away in 2012, was delighted at the support:
“I’m absolutely amazed at the way the book has been received, with copies ordered by fans all over the world, from Australia and Japan to the US and even Iraq.
“I wanted to mark the launch by bringing out a special beer and approached Three Tuns after hearing about John’s love for Wolves. We spent a great day at the brewery and the idea was turned into reality…even better he said we could have the beer for free and direct the money from the pubs buying it towards Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
“Needless to say, we had a few tasting sessions and, all I can say is, it hits the back of the net when it comes to taste!”
Three Tuns Brewery is one of England’s best kept secrets and is on course to enjoy a record year, with sales up 10% to £1.2m.
The growing popularity of real ale has seen unprecedented demand for its unique range of beers taken from a secret recipe book, including XXX, 1642 Bitter and Cleric’s Cure.
Over 500 pubs are now stocking the company’s cask conditioned ales, with the next stage of its expansion focusing on expanding its presence within the Black Country and Staffordshire.
John concluded: “There’s a lot of talk about who is the UK’s oldest brewery, but we believe we take the title…who else can say they have a license granted by King Charles the 1st from 1642?”
‘They Wore The Shirt’ ale will be available from the specially selected pubs from Wednesday October 26th. For further information on purchasing a copy, please visit www. www.theyworetheshirt.co.uk. More details on The Three Tuns Brewery can be found at www.threetunsbrewery.co.uk