New Look Batemans

by Steve Renshaw

If you’ve been in your local Batemans’ pub recently, you’ll have noticed that something has changed. The Wainfleet-based family brewer is celebrating its 140th anniversary with a rebranding. The first thing you notice is the new, contemporary design for the XB and XXXB pump clips. There’s also a new pump clip for the award-winning Salem Porter.

However, the rebranding isn’t just about style. The substance comes from the fact that Batemans has extended the fermentation and maturation time for its beers to give them an even more satisfying body and flavour. And they are adding new beers to their portfolio. The classic Dark Mild has been replaced by Black & White, with a pump clip to match XB and XXXB.

They are continuing to produce specialist, limited-release beers. Last year, they introduced their Bohemian Brews infused with flavours such as Belgian chocolate, orange peel, coffee beans, cinnamon and hazelnuts.  And this year, they are brewing Biscuit Barrel Beers, which combine the flavours of classic biscuits with the traditional brewing recipes. Beer and biscuits share many common raw materials such as barley, oats, malt and cane sugar, and these beers will feature subtle biscuit flavours.

There’s even a new bottled beer that is claimed to be a completely unique beer experience. Black Pepper Ale is a strong pale ale to which drinkers can add some ground Asian black pepper from an attached sachet, to enhance the flavour.

Stuart Bateman, managing director of Batemans Brewery, said: “This year marks a momentous occasion for us as we celebrate our 140th anniversary. In recognition of this achievement, we’ve evolved our branding, and also introduced a range of new beers which demonstrate the heritage and expertise of our brewery while offering tastes and flavours that are incredibly modern. We’re extremely proud of these new beers, and hope our customers and fans enjoy them.”

One of the most interesting aspects of the rebranding is the new strapline on the brewery’s logo. “Good honest ales” has been replaced with “Craft brewers since 1874”. I’ve written about craft beers in this column before, and it’s still a hugely contentious issue among brewers and drinkers.

The term “craft beer” has been coined by young, trendy brewers to describe their beer, whether it is dispensed from a cask or a keg. One of the most prominent examples is Brew Dog Brewery in Aberdeenshire. On their website, Brew Dog give the following definition of craft beer: “For us the distinction should be as simple as beer brewed for taste versus beer brewed for volume. Regardless of dispense style of production method, craft beer is beer brewed for taste.”

Batemans is fighting back against this new wave by defining craft beers as beers that come from a craft brewery. That is, a brewery run by the fourth generation, on the same site for over 140 years, using the same traditional brewing techniques, where many of those working at the brewery have done so for over 30 years, having had their craft passed down to them from father to son.

This is hardly a snappy definition, but it reflects the passion that directors Stuart and Jacqui Bateman have for the business. It was their great grandfather, George, who sold his farm in the village of Friskney in 1874 and rented a small brewery in Wainfleet.

And what about the beer? Black & White (3.6% ABV) is a dark, rich and creamy mild packed with biscuit, nut and fruit flavours. Renowned beer writer, Roger Protz, has described it as “a sensation”.

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