Forgotten Wainfleet-brewed ale travels 25,000 miles to Ayers rock

David Cragg's bottle of Bateman's Vintage Ale pictured beside Ayers Rock, Australia.
David Cragg's bottle of Bateman's Vintage Ale pictured beside Ayers Rock, Australia.

For more than three decades it lay forgotten in a corner of a Wainfleet brewery’s storeroom.

But after an ‘explosive’ rediscovery last year, it’s now making up for lost time.

A bottle of Bateman’s Vintage Ale has recently returned from a global adventure, visiting such famous landmarks as Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.

Ale enthusiast David Cragg took the bottle on his travels after learning that Bateman was seeking pictures of its Vintage Ale in exotic or unusual locations for a competition it was running.

“I was turning 60 on February 24 so I decided I would take the bottle with me on my birthday travels,” he said.

“I knew I was going to be going to some exotic locations so I thought it would be a good places to take some pictures.

“It was as much for a bit of fun as it was anything else - but then I remembered I had been carrying it around in my suitcase for eight flights and hadn’t taken any pictures, so I got it out at Ayers Rock and took a couple of shots.”

During its 25,000 mile journey the globe-trotting ale visited Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, Alice Springs, Cairns, Ayers Rock, Brisbane and Singapore.

The retired civil servant considers himself to be something of an ale connoisseur and has applauded Bateman for reviving the Vintage Ale and its rich festive flavours.

It was last brewed by the family firm in 1976 but a bottle, which George Bateman had set aside for his son Stuart’s 21st birthday, was recently rediscovered when it exploded during a storeroom clearance and revealed a ‘taste out of this world’.

Stuart set to work recreating the flavours to release a version of it in time for Christmas.

And a bottle from that run found its way to David’s Newcastle home and onwards for its jet-setting expedition.

Jaclyn Bateman said: “We were very impressed to see our beer was being drunk in Australia, 10,000 miles away, when there’s so much Fosters out there.”

David will have to wait until summer to find out whether his entry has won the competition and the prize VIP tour of the Bateman brewery in Wainfleet.