The Co-ALE-ition story so far by Derrill Carr
In late June 2013 Alan Hope and Derrill Carr (CAMRA member with good contacts at micro breweries) attended a Meet The Brewer event held at Alan’s local pub the Prince Arthur in Fleet where they met Gary Winslade who was in charge of Sales and Marketing at the Itchen Valley micro brewery in New Alresford (Hampshire). In what turned out to be a very long night drinking free samples of Itchen Valley ale they discussed with Gary the opportunity of the Itchen Valley brewery proving an ale to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the first time an OMRLP candidate had stood at an election i.e. Lord David Sutch at Bermondsey in Feb 1983 soon followed by 12 candidates at the 1983 General Election. >>From the Guardian Archive<< Gary was initially very enthusiastic and asked us to provide a pump clip design so that he could take it to his designers and set the wheels in motion. Derrill and Alan quickly knocked together a pump clip design and also came up with a name for this new ale and sent it to Gary but due to a number of reasons completely outside our control this opportunity failed to materialise. Whilst Alan and Derrill felt a little disappointed with this outcome they both realised it was never going to be easy to convince a micro brewery to invest their own cash into a new product for the OMRLP unless the brewery could clearly see there was something in it for themselves. There was no OMRLP budget provided for the development of a OMRLP ale so the initial cost of both designing and producing the pump clips (£300 to £500) had to be absorbed by the microbrewery themselves. However less than a month later (in late July 2013) another opportunity presented itself, again at the Prince Arthur in Fleet, on the opening night of their Local Ale Festival. Derrill had invited Phil Robins (Longdog brewery) along to open the Festival and after his brewing talk to the gathered audience Phil then sat down on a table with Alan and Derrill where he introduced them both to the delights of Longdog’s Brindle Bitter which they all proceeded to drink all night.
They all got on together very well and eventually the conversation turned to discussing the opportunity for the Longdog brewery to produce a special ale to celebrate the OMRLP’s 30 year anniversary. It became very clear in the conversations with Phil Robins that a completely new ale was not an option due to our very tight timescales and the high risk issue of pubs not ordering this new ale i.e. could the Loony Party be trusted to produce a good quality ale with a completely new recipe or were the Loonys’ going to have the last laugh by producing an ale that was undrinkable. Phil readily agreed that the Loony Party could rebrand one of his existing award winning ales and was delighted to have been asked but said he would need help with the pumpclip design and arriving at the name for the new ale. Alan and Derrill then visited the Longdog brewery in Basingstoke the very next day to sample and taste all of the Longdog ales that were on offer for rebranding and they decided whilst they were there that the Longdog Brindle Bitter they had been drinking the previous night with Phil was perfect for the OMRLP’s new ale which was later to be called Winning Co-ALE-ition. Alan and Derrill, then commenced work on what has since been recognised as the crucial stage of this business opportunity i.e. to come up with an attractive, eye catching pump clip design together with a unique name for this new OMRLP ale all of which had to be backed up with an interesting topical story. The masterstroke with hindsight was coming up with the centrepiece of the pump clip design which was a photo from May 2010 when Alan stood against David Cameron in his Witney (Oxfordshire) constituency at the May 2010 General Election. This photo depicts the exact moment when David Cameron stepped forward on the stage to be announced as the winner of the Witney election to the whole world. Howling, ever the opportunist, stepped forward out of the line of other candidates, to shake a shocked David Cameron by the hand whilst at the same time lifting his own hand in triumph. This picture went all round the world in news bulletins and newspapers/magazines and further highlighted to a world wide audience just what the OMRLP were all about. The next requirement was to come up with something topical, Alan and Derrill focused on the present Coalition Govt which was struggling to make progress and used this to come up with the name “ Winning Co-ALE-ition “ using the photo of Cameron and Hope to envisage a different type of Coalition Govt this time between the OMRLP and the Conservatives which would undoubtedly be a winner. The ALE in Co-ALE-ition stands for Another Loony Experience and the pump clip colours were to be the OMRLP official colours of yellow and black. All of this information was then passed to Phil Robins in early August. Phil in consultation with his pump clip designer came up with other ideas and went on to produce a final version of the Winning Co-ALE-ition pump clip that blew us all away. The next thoughts were launch events and getting the press involved. Two locals papers (Basingstoke Gazette and the Fleet News & Mail) were approached and they both published very good pre launch event stories and photos which helped to create a lot of early interest in this new ale.
The launch events for Winning Co-ALE-ition took place in September. The first launch event was at the Longdog brewery in Basingstoke on 17th Sept which was attended by over 40 people, special VIP guest was Pete Staples, bass guitarist with the Troggs (late 60s pop group with lots of Top 10 hits)). Love was certainly all around that night as Alan entertained the audience with lots of OMRLP stories and taking them through some of the manifesto policies from the last 10 years. The following night (18th Sept) the main launch event was held at Alan’s local pub, the Prince Arthur in Fleet, with over 300 people in attendance including a good turn out from OMRLP members and supporters.
Sir Gerald Howarth (local Conservative MP) came along as did over 30 other local councillors plus the Mayor of Rushmoor and the Leaders of Hart Council, Fleet Town Council and several local parish councils. It was a great night, Alan once again addressed the audience and several of the VIP guests also stood up to say a few words. Alan officially launched the new ale and then walked around the Prince Arthur with a tray offering everybody in there a free sample of Winning Co-ALE-ition.
The night was not over as Colin Bex (Leader of the Wessex Regionalist Party stepped forward and presented Alan with a special cake specially inscribed for the 30 year anniversary. There were still over 100 people in the Prince Arthur at midnight on what many people still say was the biggest and best social event held in Fleet for many years. The News & Mail, Basingstoke Gazette and Wetherspoon’s quarterly magazine all provided excellent coverage of these two launch events. This photo was taken at the Whitchurch Silk Mill event in September just after we launched Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition. Phil Robins the head brewer was at his stall selling Co-ALE-ition. Sir George Young, Conservative MP for NW Hants and Chief Whip, was enjoying a swift half of Co-ALE-ition but got cold feet when he spotted the image of David Cameron and asked for the photographer to take him with a different Longdog pumpclip. This was a key Co-ALE-ition moment, Sir George Young was a member of the Coalition Govt and a close associate of David Cameron. Since then the pumpclip has been tried and tested in lots of places and with lots of different people and there have been no issues raised which is why we made the decision to stick with the Cameron and Hope image for the other 4 Co-ALE-ition ales, but at the time it was a real wobble especially for the Longdog brewery who I am not convinced have ever recovered from the experience. Alan and Derrill continued to proactively market Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition and visited/contacted many local pubs and the brand has continued to go from strength to strength. Winning Co-ALE-ition has already been sold in over 30 different pubs across six counties (Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, West Sussex and Somerset), many of these pubs are in the current CAMRA Good Beer Guide and several have been voted best real ale pubs in their own CAMRA branch area. Alan’s local pub, the Prince Arthur in Fleet, have made Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition the guest local ale that is always available and it has since become consistently the best selling ale at the Prince Arthur since the launch event in Sept. By now Alan and Derrill were receiving enquiries from pubs in other areas of the country but the Longdog brewery was only willing to deliver within a 20 mile radius of the brewery in Basingstoke. A pub in Somerset even drove through in late Nov and picked up Winning Co-ALE-ition themselves from the Longdog brewery, Derrill and Alan together with a few others visited this pub i.e. the Cross Keys in Lydford on Fosse. The very first night Winning Co-ALE-ition came on sale, it was served straight from the cask by gravity feed, another notable first for Co-ALE-ition. The Western Gazette in Somerset published a story about this Co-ALE-lition pub launch event. Several people asked Alan and Derrill why there was just one Co-ALE-ition ale and after giving this some initial thought and following discussions on the best the way forward with Phil and Lisa Robins at Longdog brewery it was agreed that a shortlist of four other award winning micro breweries based in different parts of the country would be drawn up. Derrill would then approach each of these four targeted micro breweries to see if they were willing for one of their ales to be rebranded as a Co-ALE-ition product. It was also decided that we would have maximum of 5 Co-ALE-ition ales which were all going to be different types of ale i.e. a best bitter, a stronger golden ale, an IPA, a dark stout and finally a porter and all of these Co-ALE-ition ales were to be under 5% abv so that they would be popular with customers both during the week as well as at weekends. It was also agreed that the additional 4 Co-ALE-ition ales must all be officially launched at the breweries before the end of Dec 2013 to coincide with the 30 year OMRLP anniversary year and also taking account of Alan being away in Malta for the whole month of January. The four targeted micro breweries were Langham’s brewery (West Sussex), Ascot Ales brewery (Surrey). Milk Street brewery (Wiltshire/Somerset border) and Cheddar Ales brewery (Somerset). Surprisingly the owners of all four of these targeted breweries readily agreed to the Co-ALE-ition proposal and wanted to be involved. They also allowed Derrill and Alan to rebrand whichever one of their ales they liked for the Monster Raving Loony Party. After lots of research and a series of dedicated tastings the following four ales were selected to become Co-ALE-ition products i.e. Langhams Arapaho which was a multi award winning hoppy (4.9% abv) Golden Ale. Ascot Ales multi award winning (4.6% abv) Single Hop IPA which uses a different single hop from around the world each month. Milk Street’s multi award winning (4.5% abv) Zig Zag Dark Stout. Cheddar Ales multi award winning (4.5% abv) Totty Pot Black Porter. Derrill and Alan were then given the challenge by each of the four micro breweries of coming up with the 4 pump clip designs and the names for these 4 new Co-ALE-ition ales. Derrill agreed the key principles with Alan and the brewery owners very quickly i.e. the word Co-ALE-ition was to be a part of every name, standard shape and general design of each brewery’s pump clip was to be maintained, Cameron and Hope photo to be used on every pump clip (now considered to be a key part of the Co-ALE-ition brand) and different background colours to be used so that each pump clip would stand out on its own when appearing alongside another Co-ALE-ition pump clip. With lead times of 2 to 3 weeks for the professionals to complete the design process and produce an initial stock of the pump clips, Derrill and Alan set themselves the challenge of producing the initial design and name of each ale within 48 hours. Langham brewery was the first one – the name they agreed for this new ale was Co-ALE-ition Gold reflecting that this was a Golden Ale and a Loony Party/Conservative coalition also presented a golden opportunity and would be a Gold moment in political history if it ever happened. GOLD also stands for George Osborne Lowers Duty in celebration of the 1p reduction in beer duty in the March 2013 budget which was the first ever beer duty reduction in over 50 years. The background colours on the pump clip were to be different shades of Gold. They added at the top of the pump clip “Official Monster Raving Loony Party Cask Ale” as the unique element and also included what the letters ALE in Co-ALE-ition really stood for i.e. Another Loony Experience. The pump clip was completed with a picture of the Langham brewery which is a 18th century grain barn set in the Sussex Downs surrounded by swallows taken on a late summers evening. This pump clip has since been voted by Co-ALE-ition customers as the most striking of all 5 of the Co-ALE-ition pump clips. Ascot Ales brewery was next on the list – the name they agreed for this new ale was Co-ALE-ition Hope & Glory (Single Hop IPA) reflecting that Howling Laud Hope was also celebrating the 30th year since he first stood for the OMRLP at an election (General Election back in June 1983 at Teignbridge in Devon) plus Howling was celebrating the 15 years he has been Leader of the OMRLP. The OMRLP’s famous strapline/slogan “vote insanity you know it makes sense“ was also utilised to create a unique element by converting IPA (India Pale Ale) to mean Insanity Prevents Austerity under a Conservative/OMRLP Coalition Govt. This OMRLP ale offers something completely different to all the other Co-ALE-ition ales because a different single hop, sourced from around the world, is used every month in this brew and hence this ale provides a different taste every month and has since gone on to become the OMRLP’s seasonal ale offering. Milk Street brewery ale was our next focus – the name they agreed for this ale was Co-ALE-ition Dark Side Stout which recognised this was our very first dark ale whilst at the same time was perhaps giving an early view of the potential of a Conservative and OMRLP Coalition Govt from the perspective of the other political parties. The meaning of the word ALE (Another Loony Experience) in Co-ALE-ition also features on this pump clip. There are two unique elements i.e. the Milk Street brewery’s famous emblem of the cow’s head also appears in the centre of Alan’s large rosette on the Cameron and Hope photo. The full size version of the Cameron and Hope photo was used for this one and only time but this decision later necessitated the introduction of two yellow triangular shapes on the pump clip towards the bottom as it became clear to everybody on the final version that Mr Hope was visibly very excited at meeting Mr Cameron and had definitely risen to the occasion!! Then finally it was onto the Cheddar Ales brewery ale and by now they were on a roll and could knock up a pump clip design and agree a name in a few hours – the name they agreed for this ale was Co-ALE-ition. In The Black Porter which recognised that this was a Black Porter but also that the OMRLP are the only political party currently with a positive bank balance (but nobody was to tell the Co-ALE-ition breweries!!). This pump clip has the wonderful Mendip Hills and Cheddar Gorge pictured on a wintry day in the background and also uses the Cheddar Ales strapline “Simply Gorgeous“ to describe the taste of this ale. These pump clip raw designs including the name of the ale and the rationale were passed to each of the designers employed by the 4 micro breweries. They all added extra value and in no time at all Alan and Derrill had agreed the final versions and the pump clips were on their way to printing. Official launch event dates, which all had to take place in the month of Dec at each of the four micro breweries, were then scheduled and had to allow sufficient time to produce the first batch of the new pump clips and to ensure samples of the ale would be available at the launch. The local press were also contacted and they all expressed interest in running a story in their newspapers.
The Langham brewery official launch of Co-ALE-ition Gold took place at the Old Granary Barn brewery in Lodsworth (West Sussex) on Monday 2nd Dec at 7pm. There was a slight panic when we arrived and nobody from the brewery was there to meet us and everywhere was in complete darkness but Co-Owners — Lesley Foulkes and James Berrow plus assistant brewer Saulo Parreira all came along very soon afterwards. There was an official photographer at this launch event and he took some excellent photos which he forwarded to us the next day. Baron Von Thunderclap (OMRLP) joined us from his Sussex home for this official launch. The launch party were able to sample Co-ALE-ition Gold straight from the cask which everybody enjoyed and also were able to sample several other excellent Langham ales including the multi award winning Black Swallow which we initially selected as our preferred Langham’s Co-ALE-ition ale but after further discussion at 6% abv it was considered to be too strong. The four brewery fermenting vessels at Langham brewery were all named after women and unsurprisingly Howling made sure he was photographed alongside the one called “Fanny The Fermentor”!! The Langham brewery launch story, complete with a group photo taken by Clive Bennett the official photographer for Langhams brewery, appeared in the Midhurst and Petworth Observer in the following week’s edition. After the launch event on the way back home most of the launch party called in at the Mulberry Inn in Chiddingfold (Surrey) which is owned by Chris Evans (Radio 1 DJ). Chris was not there which is a good job as Howling was shocked to be charged £4 for a small glass of very ordinary house red wine. A couple from the Isle of Man having a meal there took pity on Howling and filled his glass up from a bottle of very expensive red wine, we later found out that the lady owned a micro brewery on the Isle Of Man which no doubt Howling will be visiting in the near future. The Ascot Ales brewery official launch of Co-ALE-ition Hope & Glory IPA took place at the brewery premises in Camberley (Surrey) on Tues Dec 10th at midday. The launch party were given a tour of the brewery by Chris Gill (Owner and Head brewer) and he also fully explained the brewing process. Chris also showed us his small very labour intensive bottling plant. The launch party then sampled the first batch of Co-ALE-ition Hope & Glory IPA which was only brewed the previous day using a Single Hop from Goldings. Everybody enjoyed this Single Hop IPA ale and photographs were taken for the News and Mail story that featured in all their editions in early January. Chris Gill gave us a polypin of Hope & Glory to take away with us and this was consumed over the following two weeks. On the way back home the launch party called in at Mr Bumble a pub in Blackwater which should be selling Co-ALE-ition ales very soon and then finally at the Waggon and Horses in Hartley Wintney which has already sold Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition and soon afterwards became the very first pub to order Ascot’s Co-ALE-ition Hope & Glory IPA. The OMRLP’s Lord Hannah of Pilcot came into the Waggon and Horses whilst we were there but alas did not stay very long.
The Milk Street brewery launch took place at Frome in Somerset on Friday 20th Dec at 1pm, the launch party had travelled through to Somerset that morning and stopped for brunch in a local café in Frome. Rik Lyall the Milk Street brewery Owner and Head brewer was there to meet us in the Griffin pub which adjoined the brewery in Milk Street. Peter Carr, the SW Co-ALE-ition agent, who is also the sales rep for Milk Street brewery was also there. We all had a sample of Co-ALE-ition Dark Side straight from a handpump on the Griffin pub bar and everybody enjoyed it and we also had samples of other Milk Street ales e.g. Funky Monkey. Lots of photos were taken inside the Griffin and also on the brief tour of the brewery area which many years ago had been a porn cinema. Just as we were leaving the Griffin a customer came in and said to Howling,” I know you “ the customer went on to say that he had appeared in two bands at Alan’s hotel in Ashburton (Devon) and had recently moved to Frome and the Griffin was now his local pub. The Griffin continued to sell Co-ALE-ition Dark Side to their customers that Friday evening but it had long gone by closing time. Both the Frome Times and the Frome Standard covered this launch event in their Xmas editions.
The Cheddar Ales brewery launch took place at Cheddar in Somerset (only a stone’s throw from Cheddar Gorge) on Friday 20th Dec at 3pm. The launch party drove there from Frome with the help of Peter Carr (Cheddar Ales brewery sales rep from Jan 2014 onwards). Jem Ham, Cheddar Ales owner and Head Brewer, was there to meet us and we were all impressed by the size of this micro brewery. Jem rigged up a bar with a hand pump which he polished and the launch party all sampled Cheddar Ales Co-ALE-ition In The Black but on this occasion there was no cask ale option available so it was the bottled version we drank. The launch party had a quick tour of the brewery and marvelled at the fully automated bottling plant with a capability of filling 1200 bottles per hour. Lots of photos were taken and Jem kindly gave us some free samples (bottles) to take away with us. This launch event story together with a group photo was covered by the Cheddar Valley Gazette in their Xmas edition. The 1st pub to sell Co-ALE-ition In the Black from the cask was the Volunteer Riflemans’ Arms in Bath and this story was covered by the Bath Chronicle in their early Jan edition. After leaving Cheddar Ales brewery the launch party parted company with Peter Carr and drove to the Cross Keys Inn at Lydford on Fosse in Somerset where they met up once again with Dave Grindley (the owner) and Tom Wilton (the Manager).
The Cross Keys was the 1st pub in Somerset to sell Co-ALE-ition ale but they had to drive to the Longdog brewery in Basingstoke to pick up Winning Co-ALE-ition themselves. Dave Grindley confirmed he wanted all 5 Co-ALE-ition ales at the Cross Keys and we agreed that Peter Carr our Co-ALE-ition brewery rep would arrange this early in the New Year. Alan tapped up Dave to become a local OMRLP candidate in the 2015 General Election, Dave showed a lot of initial interest which Alan will no doubt be following up.
The launch party then made its way to the Haselbury Mill Hotel near Crewkerne in Somerset where Alan had fixed up with the owner (Roger Bastable his friend of 15 to 20 years) for us all to stay the Friday night (20 Dec). Roger was our host for the night and he served us drinks and arranged for us all to have Xmas dinner in the Tythe Barn with around 250 other guests who were enjoying the Xmas Party entertainment. Howling was soon on the dance floor strutting his stuff chasing after several young ladies who had taken a fancy to his hat but as the night wore on the 6% draft cider he had been drinking started to take effect and an early night beckoned. Again lots of photos were taken and the story of the OMRLP visit to Haselbury Mill Hotel should be in the Chard and Ilminster News next week. Roger Bastable confirmed he wanted all five of the Co-ALE-ition ales in his three bars and a meeting to facilitate this was to be arranged with Peter Carr in early Jan. Roger also showed some interest in becoming a local OMRLP candidate at the 2015 General Election. As we set off back home from Somerset on the morning of the 21 Dec we all agreed that Friday 20th Dec would live in our memories for a very long time. There have been six official Co-ALE-ition launch events in total, five were held at each of the Co-Ale-ition micro breweries and then there was the big event held at the Prince Arthur in Fleet. Alan, Derrill, Leon Slater and Steve Lawson attended all 6 events and Joy Lawson and Colin Bex (Leader of the Wessex Regionalist Party who lives in North London) attended 5 of these events. Alan, Derrill and Leon Slater also attended the Co-ALE-ition launch event at the Cross Keys Inn at Lydford on Fosse on Tuesday 3rd December to celebrate Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition being sold in Somerset for the first ever time and also the first time Co-ALE-ition was served straight from the cask by gravity feed.
Alan and Derrill between them have supported the launch of Co-ALE-ition at several other pubs e.g. The Fox at North Waltham, The Bat and Ball at Boundstone, The Waggon and Horses at Hartley Wintney, The Prince of Wales at Farnborough, The Tilly Shilling at Farnborough and The Claude Du Vall at Camberley.
Alan was away in Malta for the whole month of January so this was one of the quietest periods for Co-ALE-ition. Whilst away, Alan pursued an opportunity with the Simonds, Farson and Cisk brewery in Malta with the objective of giving them an opportunity to produce the first international Co-ALE-ition cask ale. Unfortunately Alan was not able to arrange a meeting with the brewery whilst he was over there so this opportunity may be followed up by email later.
Derrill produced a detailed schedule for the Milk Street and Cheddar Ales breweries containing all of the pub leads together with their contact details. We waited with considerable excitement and high expectations for Peter Carr, Co-ALE-ition brewery representative for Somerset and the SW, to come on board in late Jan and to start to make a really big impact. However at the last minute Peter, for his own personal reasons, decided not to join Cheddar Ales and despite everything he had said before he remained with Milk Street. This very late decision threw Cheddar Ales’ plans for Co-ALE-ition In The Black (Porter) completely up in the air according to Jem (Cheddar Ales owner/head brewer) and they were unable to take advantage of all the promotion and publicity we had carried out in Dec and Jan and lost momentum which so far they have never been able to recover from.
Nick (Flying Brick) and Derrill worked hard together setting up the CO-ALE-ition section of the OMRLP website during January and had all of the content ready on there for Howling’s return from Malta. Since then this Co-ALE-ition section of the OMRLP website has proved to be invaluable as it provides a direct link to all of the CO-ALE-ition information which can now be easily provided to breweries, pubs, Ale Festivals, newpapers and magazines etc rather than sending them lengthy emails with lots of attachments most of which probably never get read. The regularly updated OMRLP website containing all of the Co-ALE-ition latest news has also helped to give the project more credibility and momentum, lots of positive feedback has been received and OMRLP website links all over the internet if you Google “Co-ALE-ition”.
In January Ascot Ales made the decision to market and sell all of their Single Hop IPA cask ale as Co-ALE-ition Hope & Glory and requested permission to sell it as Hope & Glory well beyond the 2015 General Election in May 2015. This decision by Chris Gill at Ascot Ales opened the door for a huge boost in Co-ALE-ition sales and for the 1st time a Co-ALE-ition ale (Hope & Glory) was sold in London at the Duke of Wellington in Hackney (North London) and it proved to be very popular. Ascot Ales also arranged a brewery swap with the Milestone brewery in Newark near Nottingham and Hope & Glory was on sale at two pubs in the Nottingham area.
However problems continued with the ongoing sales of Co-ALE-ition ales as a result of two breweries continually badging ales under their original names to Co-ALE-ition pub leads which had been provided by Alan and Derrill. This policy was not only having a detrimental effect on Co-ALE-ition sales but also on the number of pub leads that were being generated by Alan and Derrill for these two breweries. Co-ALE-ition ale orders were also being delivered to pubs by these same two breweries where they provided both pumpclips (Co-ALE-ition and the original) which was particularly confusing to Wetherspoon pubs who often ended up using the wrong pumpclip.
Alan went off to the Bath Ball in early Feb and two Co-ALE-ition ales were put on at the Volunteer Rifleman’s Arms in Bath by Landlord Paul Alvis (OMRLP member and supporter) for Alan and his friends to enjoy whilst they were in Bath. Peter Carr came over from Somerset and collected these casks of Co-ALE-ition ales from Langhams (Co-ALE-ition Gold) and Ascot (Hope & Glory) breweries, took them to Bath himself, sorted out the payments for the breweries and brought back the empty casks. This was a lot of additional effort which is unlikely to be repeated as it was not a success as the ale was delivered late and served in less than perfect condition when it came on for Alan and his friends.
Alan also met up with Brendan McCabe in Bath to discuss the opportunity for a Co-ALE-ition ale to go into the House of Commons. The meeting went very well and for a time it looked like Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition would be going into the House of Commons bars but it was not to be as we discovered from Peter Carr very soon afterwards.
Alan and Derrill met up in mid Feb and made the decision to approach two more local micro breweries to expand the range of locally produced Co-ALE-ition ales. The two breweries approached were Wild Weather in Silchester (Hants) and The Two Cocks brewery in Enborne (Berks). Mike Tempest at the Wild Weather brewery was delighted to be asked and readily agreed that we could rebrand their award winning Black Night ale as HowlinGale. Black Night is a 3.9% dark old ale and very different to any other Co-ALE-ition ale. The Two Cocks brewery, what a pumpclip that would have been, can you imagine the name of that brewery sitting on top of the usual photo of Cameron and Hope? However Two Cocks declined the opportunity citing the reason as “we made the decision some time ago not to affiliate the brewery to any political party” Whilst that was a disappointment it was great to hear that the OMRLP are regarded as a serious political party in some circles. We then approached Mash brewery in East Stratton (Hants) and there lots of enthusiasm from the co-owners Graham and John. We went out to see them at the Mash brewery and sampled four of their ales and unanimously selected Mash Gold to become the next Co-ALE-ition ale. The name of this ale was a no brainer i.e. Monster Mash and it is a 4% hoppy golden/blonde ale which gives us another session ale for the summer.
Alan and a few others attended a Co-ALE-ition night at the Pommelers Rest in Bermondsey at the end of February. Hope & Glory was on sale and Chris Gill from Ascot brewery was there for a Meet the Brewer talk. This event took place 31 years ago in exactly the same week as the count took place in Feb 1983 at the Bermondsey by-election (first election were an OMRLP candidate stood).
Confirmation was received that five Co-ALE-ition ales would definitely feature at the Fleet Lions Ale Festival on August 9th and Howling was to be the VIP guest. Mytchett Ale Festival agreed to order three Co-ALE-ition ales and again Alan will be there to open this Ale Festival on 25th April. Mytchett was where Alan was born and brought up so this is a very special occasion for him. The Watercress steam railway has agreed to order three different Co-ALE-ition ales for their Real Ale Trains running in August and October.
Milk Street brewery and Peter Carr the Co-ALE-ition SW representative were really struggling to sell Co-ALE-ition Dark Side (Stout) in Somerset and the SW and were never able to get sufficient orders to make a delivery viable to pubs in Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey. It was therefore decided by Alan and Derrill in March to cease promoting Milk Street’s Co-ALE-ition Dark Side and to seek out another award winning stout this time it had to be produced by a local micro brewery in Hampshire/Surrey/Berkshire. We were absolutely delighted to be offered a stout that had won the Silver award in its category in CAMRA’s Champion Winter Beer of Britian event at Derby in Feb 2014, and this new Co-ALE-ition stout should be available from June. Conversations continued with the Cheddar Ales brewery regarding the disappointing sales of Co-ALE-ition In The Black (Porter), a meeting is to be arranged with Cheddar Ales local wholesale agent (Jim Hamblin) who is based in Andover to see if we can help Co-ALE-ition In The Black achieve some sales in Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire. These two difficult Somerset brewery experiences have helped to convince us that all future Co-ALE-ition breweries need to be located within 25 miles of Fleet (where Alan and Derrill both live).
Chinners and Nick (Flying Brick) did some great work designing a Keep Calm poster for Co-ALE-ition. Chinners also produced a series of metal badges, key rings and fridge magnets representing each Co-ALE-ition pumpclip and a very informative A4 leaflet containing details of each Co-ALE-ition ale together with the brewery contact details which should be very helpful to leave behind whenever we make pub visits.
On April 3rd the latest Co-ALE-ition ale was officially launched. This was called HowlinGale or is it really Howling Ale and it is a rebranded version of Wild Weather’s Black Night which is a 3.9% dark old ale with a pleasant bitter finish. The launch event took place at the Wild Weather brewery in Silchester followed by a pub crawl in Reading town centre to three great real ale pubs (Alehouse, Greyfriars, Nags Head) all of whom had HowlinGale on sale that night plus Hope & Glory as well at The Nags Head. This Wild Weather Co-ALE-ition launch was arranged by Mike Tempest the brewery owner and his wife Karen. Wild Weather have now taken the bar much higher for all future Co-ALE-ition launches and expectations are at a completely new level now.
Jon Coward (Landlord of the Northbrook Arms in East Stratton) has invited us to sell Co-ALE-ition ales at his three day East Stratton Ale Festival over May Bank Holiday weekend (3/4/5 May). Jon has also ordered a Co-ALE-ition ale for the pub i.e. HowlinGale for the first time and Alan and Derrill went along to celebrate with Jon.
The latest Wetherspoon pub opened on 8th April, it was The Queen in Aldershot. Alan and Derrill were invited to the pre opening events the week before and Alan was a VIP guest at the official opening day and was on all of the press photographs. Longdog’s winning Co-ALE-ition was on sale on the official opening day and two more Co-ALE-ition ales (Hope & Glory and Gold) were waiting in the pub’s cellar.
Two Co-ALE-ition ales were on sale at the Mytchett Ale Festival – HowlinGale and Winning Co-ALE-ition, with Hope & Glory on tap in the Menber’s Bar. Alan and Derrill went along on the Friday, Alan officially opened this Ale Festival and sang a couple of songs.
10,000 pints of Co-ALE-ition had been sold by the end of April (7 months since the 1st launch) and more than 80 pubs based in 8 different counties plus Central London had sold at least one Co-ALE-ition ale. Wild Weather’s HowlinGale sales were way beyond our initial expectations for the first month and every pub lead we passed over was converted by the Wild Weather sales team which is a remarkable achievement.
Mash brewery launched Monster Mash on 1st May 2014, a rebranded version of their award winning Mash Gold (4% abv hoppy, golden, session ale). This pumpclip was completely different from anything we had done before i.e. featured Alan and the whole OMRLP cabinet (thanks to the excellent photo provided by The Flying Brick). This pumpclip was very well received by everybody. Dr Graham Turner (Co-owner/Head Brewer of Mash brewery) and his wife Sarah organised the launch and did an amazing job. Alan Hope and the whole of the OMRLP cabinet turned up plus two other Loony Party members travelling to Hampshire from Derbyshire, Sussex and different parts of London. Many of us got to meet Chinners, RU Seerius, The Flying Brick, Baron Von Thunderclap, Knigel Knapp, Lady Hell ‘n’ Back and Badger for the first time and their attendance made the whole event a huge success i.e. reunited the 6 people on the Monster Mash pumpclip. After a very successful launch at the Mash brewery attended by circa 20 people, Graham and Sarah arranged transport for us all into Winchester.
We went to The Fulflood Arms at 8pm where they had three Co-ALE-ition ales on that night — Monster Mash, HowlinGale and Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition. Landlord Clive greeted us wearing a Loony Party rosette from the 90s signed on the back by Lord Sutch. Phil Robins (Longdog), the very 1st Co-ALE-ition brewer, was also there to greet us, by now the party numbers had swelled to 40+ and the pub was packed. The Loony Party members all danced to the Monster Mash record whenever it came on which added to the general atmosphere and fun. Just after 9pm we all left and walked the short distance to The Albion pub where we were greeted by Landlord Paul Soulsby. Two Co-ALE-ition ales were available – Monster Mash and HowlinGale plus the Monster Mash record was played every 15 mins or so. Again our group packed out the Albion, which was the OMRLP’s HQ for ten days back in Nov 1997 at the famous Winchester by-election when Screamimg Lord Sutch stood for the OMRLP and that was the final time he ever stood as a candidate at an election.
Alan and Derrill visited the Fulflood Arms and the Albion in Winchester the next day (2nd May) to thank them for the previous night. The night was a success for them as well and they were both keen to have the Loony Party back and to sell some more Co-ALE-ition ales.
The Loony Party Ale stall at the East Stratton Ale Festival over the first May Bank holiday weekend was unfortunately not a success and as a result there was no donation made to the Loony Party funds. The best day by far was the Saturday but unfortunately the Loony Party stall was not open that day. Howling attended on both days, Sunday was hosted by Mike of Wild Weather and Monday by Graham on Mash, three Co-ALE-ition ales were on sale on both day – HowlinGale, Monster Mash and Hope & Glory.
Two of the largest local micro breweries based in the SE have approached us with offers to rebrand one of their ales for Co-ALE-ition. The offer from the larger of these two breweries involves the rebranding of the highest selling ale produced in the Hants/Surrey/Berkshire area plus one of their other ales as well. Alan and Derrill are working through the details but if this was to take off Co-ALE-ition would be on sale everywhere.
HowlinGale became the 1st Co-ALE-ition ale to feature at the famous Reading Ale Festival and Hope & Glory was on sale at the Wokingham May Fayre both took place during the 1st May bank holiday.
Alan and Derrill did a tour of Oxfordshire in May supporting Mike Tempest and Wild Weather’s HowlinGale which was on sale at three pubs on the same night. These pubs were the Grapes in Oxford, the New Inn at Witney and the Royal Oak at Wantage. BBC Oxford was at the Grapes to record the event and the New Inn is David Cameron’s constituency pub when he visits Witney so lots of fun with HowlinGale especially the pumpclip featuring Hope & Cameron.
HowlinGale was voted the winning Mild in the Best Mild of the Month competition held at the Prince Arthur in Fleet in late May. Mike Tempest from Wild Weather came along and and did a Meet the Brewer talk to an invited audience of over 20 people many of whom were CAMRA members. This was the first time that a Co-ALE-ition ale has won an award.
Hope & Glory becomes the chosen World Cup ale for England supporters at the Prince Arthur in Fleet – fortunately Hope & Glory lasted a lot longer than England did and went on to become the second most popular Co-ALE-ition ale sold at the Prince Arthur after Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition. By the end of May the Prince Arthur had sold over 5000 pints of Co-ALE-ition and was on track to become the 1st (and probably only pub) to sell 100 casks (7000 pints) of Co-ALE-ition ale.
Preparations were well underway for the launch of the 8th OMRLP ale which is our new Co-ALE-ition multi award winning stout from Ascot Ales brewery which replaced the Milk Street brewery stout (Co-ALE-ition Dark Side) that we launched in Dec 2013. Only a handful of people ever got to taste Co-ALE-ition Dark Side as it unfortunately failed to attract any sales in pubs outside of Somerset due to delivery issues.]
Howling appeared on the BBC Politics Show in June and won the competition (awarded by Charles Clarke) for the iconic BBC Politics Show special mug for his spontaneous one line caption “Is this the coxless fours” in response to a photo of David Cameron in a boat with three other European leaders. Howling also gave studio guest Charles Clarke a run for his money when he openly criticised the current role and impact of the OMRLP. The Co-ALE-ition brand of ales also got a good mention from former OMRLP sponsor – Graham Sharpe of William Hill who suggested that brewery sponsorship of the OMRLP was the likely way forward. Howling took the opportunity to show the Longdog Winning Co-ALE-ition pumpclip and inform the TV audience that this OMRLP ale would be on sale in The Strangers Bar at the Houses of Parliament later in June.
One of the undoubted main highlights of the first year of Co-ALE-ition was the appearance of Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition in The Strangers Bar at the Houses of Parliament. Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition was the first ever Co-ALE-ition ale and the pumpclip features a photo taken at the count of David Cameron holding up Howling’s arm in triumph at the Witney General Election in May 2010. Phil and Lisa Robins had organised this through Maria Miller, their local MP, and on 25th June Howling went along to the launch with Lisa Robins, Knigel
“Big Fibber” Knapp and three other Co-ALE-ition supporters – Steve and Joy Lawson and Leon Slater. It was wonderful summer’s day capped by the attendance of not one MP as is the norm but four MPs who all joined in and drank Winning Co-ALE-ition with Howling and his group. The four MPs were Maria Miller (MP for Basingstoke and the former Co-ALE-ition Govt Minister for Culture), Sir Gerald Howarth (MP for Aldershot), James Arbuthnot (MP for North East Hampshire which includes Fleet where Howling lives) and finally Simon Hughes (MP for Bermondsey and current Co-ALE-ition Govt Minister Justice). Simon Hughes won the Bermondsey by-election back in Feb 1983 when the OMRLP fielded an election candidate
(Screaming Lord David Sutch) for the first ever time. Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition was introduced in Sept 1983 to celebrate 30 years since the OMRLP first stood at an election and poignantly Simon Hughes has held this Bermondsey seat for 30 years as well which is why he was also invited to the special launch event in The Strangers Bar. Five casks (360 pints) of Winning Co-ALE-ition were delivered to The Strangers Bar and all five casks were drunk in less than a week making it one of the most popular guest ales ever to appear in the Houses of Parliament.
We will never know which famous political names drank Winning Co-ALE-ition that week in late June but we do know the pumpclip was the talk of the Houses of Parliament bars and there was not one request to remove it. This was yet another OMRLP record (lost count of them now), when they became the first ever political party to have their own commercially produced ale on sale in the Houses of Parliament.
After the momentous visit to The Strangers Bar and the Houses of Parliament, the group visited three pubs in London i.e. Knigel “Big Fibber” Knapp’s local i.e. the Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington, the Crosse Keys (Wetherspoon’s flagship pub) in Gracechurch Street and finally the Pommelers Rest in Bermondsey which was very near to where the Bermondsey by-election count took place back in Feb 1983. Chris Gill of the Ascot Ales brewery had ensured that two Co-ALE-ition ales i.e. Hope & Glory and Monsters In The Dark were both on sale in all three of these pubs. The Crosse Keys had an electronic tariff board displaying all the real ales on sale and it was great for the group to see two of our Co-ALE-ition ales listed on this electronic board. All the pubs gave us a fantastic welcome and their hospitality was superb. The group then finally made their way to an Indian restaurant on the aptly named Tolley Street specially selected, but not researched, by Howling. A few of the group were “ratted” by now but they somehow got through the experience and lived to tell the tail.
Our 8th Co-ALE-ition ale appropriately called “Monsters In The Dark” was officially launched on 3rd July 2014. Monsters In The Dark is a 5% Stout brewed by Ascot Ales and is a rebranded version of their multi award winning Anastasias 5% Exile Stout which has been awarded the best stout in London and SE by CAMRA for the last two years (2013 & 2014) and came runner up (Silver award) in the CAMRA 2014 UK National Champion Winter Beer of Britain awards in Feb 2014, making it the second best stout across the whole of the UK.
Chris Gill (Owner/Head Brewer of Ascot Ales) arranged a fantastic launch event which would take us into three different counties drinking “Monsters In The Dark” on the very same night. The Monsters In The Dark official launch began at the Ascot Ales brewery in Camberley (Surrey) attended by 15 people who all enjoyed this new Co-ALE-ition ale. The Baron and Norman got held up in traffic coming over from West Sussex but still arrived in time to sample the ale at the brewery.
The launch party now moved onto the Rose and Crown pub in Sandhurst (Berkshire) where more people joined us. The Landlord Peter Cozens and his wife Michelle had Monsters In the Dark on handpump and it was served in superb condition in this Berkshire CAMRA 2014 pub of the year. It was beautiful summer’s night as we all sat in the pub’s garden drinking Monsters In The Dark. Howling as usual was very active with the locals and in no time he had most of the pub drinking Monsters In The Dark.
We then moved onto the Golden Pot in Eversley (Hampshire) another CAMRA 2014 Good Beer Guide pub. By now the group had swelled to over 20 people. The new Landlord, Gary Pope, had done us proud and again Monsters In The Dark was on the handpump and was served in very good condition, several of the locals joined in and enjoyed this new Co-ALE-ition ale.
The launch party then moved on to the Waggon and Horses pub in Hartley Wintney (Hampshire) where once again Monsters In The Dark was available but this time it was served by gravity feed straight from the cask in the 500 year old stone floor cellar at this CAMRA NE Hampshire 2013 pub of the year. Niall Scott, the Landlord, had gone to bed, so Howling was unable to present him with our special framed certificate for becoming the first pub to sell 5 different Co-ALE-ition ales.
At 10pm we made our way to the Hook Tandoori in Hook (Hampshire) across the road from The Raven Hotel in Hook which had previously hosted two OMRLP annual conferences. Chinners paid a nostalgic visit to The Raven before catching the train home and the remaining 10 of us sat down for a meal including the OMRLP’s very own Lord Pilcot of Dogmersfield. The Hook Tandoori is rated the best Indian restaurant in Hampashire and the surrounding area and by the end of the night everybody could see why. Some great photos were taken of Howling, Chinners and the Baron with the Hook Tandoori main chef and his team. Howling signed the best one and included a personal message and we put it in a frame and presented it to the Hook Tandoori the following week, this framed photo now has pride of place on the special VIP/celebrity wall inside the Hook Tandoori.
Howling was the VIP guest at the Hartley Wintney Football Club Ale Festival and he offically opened the Festival on Friday 18th July. Unfortunately there were very few people present on the Friday night and this event was very disappointing for a number of reasons. Just one Co-ALE-ition ale was on sale – Ascot Ales Hope & Glory. Howling and his small group left at 10pm and then made their way to the Prince Arthur in Fleet.
A very special edition of Monster Mash in a bottle was officially launched at the Mash brewery in East Stratton on 25th July. Howling “bottled” the launch so Derrill did the honours in his absence. Pre ordered sales had reached the required break even point of 45 cases (540 bottles) which was the Mash brewery requirement before the label costs and production of 1000 bottles were given the go ahead. Derrill had to personally guarantee and underwrite this £900 break even cost for this opportunity to go ahead. Decision was then made to sell Monster Mash in a bottle at cost price i.e. £19.95 for a case of 12 and include free delivery. The label on the front of the Monster Mash bottle depicts Howling with all five members of his OMRLP cabinet and once again another record can be claimed “first time a UK political party has had in its own ale in a bottle sold commercially”.
Steve Lawson who has attended all of the Co-ALE-ition events including all 8 Co-ALE-ition ale launches, met up with George Osborne (Co-ALE-ition Chancellor of the Exchequer) on a summer’s day in July at Dorneywood his residence in Buckinghamshire. Steve, who is also a member of CAMRA, took the opportunity to bring George up to speed on the Co-ALE-ition achievements and latest developments plus other CAMRA issues. Steve also explained that the GOLD in Langham’s Co-ALE-ition Gold now stood for “George Osborne Lowers Duty” in celebration of the Chancellor’s recent announcement on beer duty in the last annual budget speech.
Co-ALE-ition Hall of Fame presentations of a special signed and framed OMRLP certificate were made to all of the following in the month of July:-
- Waggon and Horses in Hartley Wintney – to Landlord Niall Scott for becoming the 1st pub to sell 5 or more different Co-ALE-ition ales in less than 12 months.
- Ascot Ales brewery – to Owner/Head Brewer Chris Gill for selling 100 casks (7000 pints) of Co-ALE-ition Hope & Glory in less than 8 months.
- Ascot Ales brewery – to Owner/Head Brewer Chris Gill for selling Co-ALE-ition ales to more than 50 different pubs in less than 8 months.
- Longdog brewery – to Owners/Head Brewer Phil and Lisa Robins for selling 100 casks (7000 pints) of Winning Co-ALE-ition in less than 10 months
In addition the Head Chef and his team at the Hook Tandoori were presented with a special signed photo taken on our visit together with a personal message from Howling for providing us with a superb meal at the Monsters In The Dark launch event in July.
For further Hall of Fame information and presentation photos please go to the Co-ALE-ition section of the OMRLP website and access “Hall of Fame” from the Co-ALE-ition sub menu.
The Fleet Lions Ale Festival (Pieces of Eight) took place on Sat 9th August 2014, there were 38 different ales on sale of which 6 were Co-ALE-ition ales. This was the first time that all 6 Co-ALE-ition ales plus Monster Mash in a bottle had featured in one location at the very same time. Howling presented a signed/framed certificate to the three main Organisers to recognise this achievement (see Hall of Fame section for details).
The Fleet Lions had done a great job putting all 6 Co-ALE-ition ales alongside each other on a specially erected Monster Raving Loony Party/Co-ALE-ition stall. The Co-ALE-ition pumpclips were very eye catching and proved to be a constant attraction to the 850+ people who attended. Surprisingly none of the Co-ALE-ition breweries were represented at this Ale Festival and apart from Howling there was nobody from the OMRLP there either.
Howling opened up both the afternoon and evening sessions and performed the role of MC throughout the whole day. Howling took the opportunity to promote the OMRLP in both his opening speeches and also as he went round talking to the guests. He was much in demand for photos and autographs and by people just wanting to have a chat. Howling donated two signed bottles of Monster Mash to the Lions charity raffle and both winners were delighted to receive the signed bottles.
The 6 Co-ALE-ition ales were in excellent condition and sold very well. Monster Mash was the 1st Co-ALE-ition ale and the 3rd ale overall to completely sell out on the day, all of the Co-ALE-ition ales had completely sold out by 9pm and by 9.15pm there were no ales or ciders left – a complete sell out for the first ever time so the Festival had to close at the published time of 9.30pm which would have been extended by an hour to 10.30 if there had been any ale left.
Mash brewery’s Amber Ale was voted the best Ale of the Festival for which they received a framed certificate. Howling also received a special achievement certificate for his efforts on the day and Derrill was also given a special achievement award for all the publicity and promotion, both pre and post the event, which he had organised in the local newspapers (7 different stories in total were published) and also on the local radio station (Eagle).
Derrill and Alan between them sold 82 bottles of Monster Mash for people to take away as they left the Fleet Lions Ale Festival. Almost 500 pints of Co-ALE-ition were sold on the day, easily a 1 day record for the Co-ALE-ition brand.
This Fleet Lions Ale Festival experienced the highest ever attendance and sold a record amount of ale and cider so it was no surprise that the £7000 donation to the nominated charity was 40% higher than the previous best. Howling, Derrill and Co-ALE-ition made a significant contribution to this outstanding achievement which was captured in the written testimonial we received from the main Fleet Lions Ale Festival Organiser.
Howling was invited to open the Ale Festival at the Old Bell in Grazeley on Sat 23rd Augsut 2014 which featured a selection of Wild Weather ales including HowlinGale. Howling went along with Steve & Joy Lawson where he met up with Mike Tempest (Wild Weather brewery owner and head brewer). They had a good time but Howling showed his competitive side and it was win at all costs side when it came to his participation in the sideshow events.
Steve Lawson (No 1 Co-ALE-ition supporter) who has attended all of the Co-ALE-ition events so far met up with George Osborne at Dorneywood, his country residence in Bucks. Steve, who is also a CAMRA member, took the opportunity to tell George all about the Co-ALE-ition ales and specifically the recent appearance of Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition in the Houses of Parliament (Strangers Bar). George was also suitably impressed when he heard that after the April budget the GOLD in Langham’s Co-ALE-ition Gold now stands for “George Osborne Lowers Duty”.
The commencement of the Co-ALE-ition 1st Year anniversary celebrations began on 27th August 2014 at the Nags Head in Reading. Jody Oates (Landlord) a keen supporter of Co-ALE-ition ales and had made sure all 6 Co-ALE-ition ales were on sale that night plus we also had a small supply of Monster Mash in a bottle.
We had a good turn out of over 20 people at this event which included Loony Party members from North London (Knigel Knapp), Blackpool (Tony Davies), Walsall (Mark Beech) and Oxford (Mad Hatter). Colin Bex (Leader of the Wessex Regionlist Party) also came from East London to attend his 7th Co-ALE-ition event. The local Reading branch of CAMRA was well represented. Two Co-ALE-ition breweries were in attendance i.e. Mash brewery (Dr Graham Turner) and Wild Weather (Mike Tempest). The Co-ALE-ition ales were served in excellent condition at this highly rated real ale pub – been Reading & Mid Berks Pub of the Year for the last 6 consecutive years. The 6 Co-ALE-ition ales all completely sold out in less than 3 days, the first to go was Ascot’s Hope & Glory followed closely by Langham’s Co-ALE-ition Gold.
Howling presented a signed/framed certificate to Jody Oates commemorating The Nags Head becoming the 1st Pub to have all 6 Co-ALE-ition ales on sale at the very same time (see Hall of Fame section for details). Howling also presented a signed bottle of Monster Mash to Jody and also to Phil Gill from CAMRA. Tony Davies was the star of the night, he managed to drink a pint of each Co-ALE-ition ale and was still able to beat Mark Beech at darts. Some of the group had a very good curry in Reading earlier in the evening but the rest of the group were able to enjoy the excellent food provided free of charge by the Nags Head.
Monster Mash in a bottle was a big success with all 1000 bottles of this special limited edition completely sold out before the end of August. Monster Mash has been delivered to the Baron in West Sussex and to customers in Chelmsford and Wantage, Further deliveries to the Midlands, NW of England, Mid Wales, Marlow, Oxford, Surbiton and North London will take place in Sept. Feedback received so far has been excellent and many people have re-ordered.
Hall of Fame presentations of OMRLP signed/framed certifcates in August were as follows:- Nags Head in Reading (Jody Oates) and the Fleet Lions (Jim, Dan and Jonathan). Signed and framed photographs were also presented to the Hook Tandoori where they now sit proudly in their VIP section.
Derrill delivered Monster Mash cases to 3 customers in North London including Loony Party member Knigel “Big Fibber” Knapp and also 3 cases to Chessington (SW London) for Chinners and Badger but there was major congestion on the motorways and this trip was no world of adventure!! In addition Derrill also made deliveries to 10 customers on his mid Sept visit to the NW including scheduled drops to Loony Party members — Mark Beech in Walsall and Tony Davies in Blackpool. Howling and the Baron took 20 cases of Monster Mash between them to the Ridgebourne Inn in Landrindod Wells (Mid Wales) for the OMRLP Annual Conference (30th consecutive year of OMRLP annual conferences). Baron also delivered Monster Mash cases to several Loony Party members in Wales i.e. Nick “Flying Brick” Delves, Peter Hinchliffe and Jeremy Greenwood. Derrill took a promotional photo with the Eric Morecambe statue holding a bottle of Monster Mash which has already appeared in one newspaper and two magazine articles. The challenge has now been set to come up with the most interesting/unusual photos taken with a bottle of Monster Mash and entries will soon be coming in from Thailand, Turkey, Malta, Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa), Sydney (Australia) and Singapore (Asia) over the next few months.
A business review of the “Monster Mash in a bottle” total sales of 83 cases (1000 bottles) revealed that 20 cases (240 bottles) of Monster Mash were sold to 12 OMRLP members and a further 8 cases (96 bottles) were sold at the OMRLP Conference in Wales i.e. a total of 28 cases (336 bottles) were sold to the OMRLP. Derrill was then left with the considerable task of having to not only sell but also deliver the remaining 55 cases (664 bottles) to his friends, CAMRA contacts and business colleagues which he was able to successfully achieve on this one off occasion.
The Co-ALE-ition 1st Year anniversary party took place on 18th Sept (also forever remembered as the UK referendum vote day in Scotland). Howling and the Baron represented the OMRLP and Phil Robins (Longdog) represented the Co-ALE-ition breweries. The Mad Hatter (Oxford Loony) and Colin Bex (Leader of the Wessex Regionalist Party) sent their apologies, they were both in Edinburgh all week supporting the Yes vote.
The Co-ALE-ition 1st Year anniversary day began with a special lunch for 9 people at Derrill’s house, hosted by his wife Sue, featuring Steak and Monster Mash Ale hotpot with jacket potatoes and crusty bread, followed by home made apple crumble and custard all washed down with bottles of Monster Mash. It was decided to have the fish starter aptly named “Salmond and Sturgeon on toast” the next morning. After picking up 20 cases of Monster Mash in the late afternoon from the Mash brewery for the OMRLP Annual Conference it was onto an early evening start in the Prince Arthur in Fleet. This event was hosted and organised by Howling and four different Co-ALE-ition ales were available for the first ever occasion at the Prince Arthur i.e. Monsters In the Dark, Hope & Glory, Co-ALE-ition Gold and Winning Co-ALE-ition were all available on handpump. Local CAMRA members, invited by Derrill, helped swell the numbers to over 20 at this point but disappointingly this was nothing like the 300+ attendance at the very high profile Winning Co-ALE-ition launch event organised at the same venue exactly a year ago.
The main party of 6 left the Prince Arthur just before 10pm and headed to the Hook Tandoori to continue their 1st year anniversary celebrations and were able to drink chilled bottles of Monster Mash, poured perfectly, with their Indian meals rather than the usual expensive Indian fizzy lagers. Several of the Hook Tandoori staff asked for a bottle of Monster Mash as the party left just after midnight and there was lots of interest from other customers as well. Howling left a signed empty bottle of Monster Mash with the Hook Tandoori owner who has since put it into his VIP cabinet alongside some special personal memorabilia donated by world renowned international local golfer and Major winner/Ryder Cup star Justin Rose. The party were able to drink Co-ALE-ition ales at all three of these events on this special 1st year Co-ALE-ition anniversary day. The UK referendum vote outcome in Scotland that same day came up many times in conversation. The OMRLP’s three questions ” In, Out, Shake it all about ” recommendation for the Scotand voting form proved to be spot on in the end.
The OMRLP Conference in Wales featured a Co-ALE-ition ale for the first ever time, this was Monster Mash in a bottle which was sold by the Ridgebourne Inn in Landrindod Wells at £3.20 per bottle. Only 8 cases of Monster Mash were sold at these prices at the Conference in Wales so 12 cases were returned by the Baron to Derrill who then had the pleasure of selling them all in the next 24 hours to lots of people already on a waiting list. The Radnorshire branch of CAMRA also came to the Ridgebourne Inn especially to drink Monster Mash and Howling also hosted their website launch event on the Sunday whilst he was there for the Conference.
Co-ALE-ition Hall of Fame certificate awards were presented to Dr Graham Turner of Mash brewery for producing 1000 bottles of Monster Mash. Dan Proctor, the Manager of the Prince Arthur in Fleet, received two awards from Howling and Kevin Travers (CAMRA) i.e. one for becoming the first pub to sell 100 casks (7000 pints) of Co-ALE-ition and another for becoming the 1st Wetherspoon’s pub to sell 5 different Co-ALE-ition ales. Special presentations were also made to Joy & Steve Lawson and Leon Slater for their outstanding support and commitment to Co-ALE-ition over the last 12 months. Derrill had arranged for a poster (4 copies) celebrating Winning Co-ALE-ition going into the Strangers Bar back in late June to be signed by all four of the MPs who attended that day and these four framed posters were then presented to Lisa Robins (Longdog brewery), Howling, Steve & Joy Lawson and Leon Slater.
Special thanks for producing all of these Hall of Fame certificates and posters must go to Jason ” Chinners ” Chinnery and to Derrill for supplying the design, photos, frames and then printing the certifcate/poster off on special photographic card to ensure that the zero cost requirement of Co-ALE-ition in terms of OMRLP funding was maintained.
Howling stood at the Clacton on Sea by-election in October and was there for a week and he took the opportunity to give drop off two bottles of Monster Mash for Nigel Farage at UKIP HQ in Clacton. Nigel’s wife Kirsten, who is also his Secretary, has promised to send us a photo with Nigel drinking Monster Mash.
A new Co-ALE-ition ale was specially launched at the end of October to celebrate the 30th OMRLP annual conference which took place in Wales this year. This new Co-ALE-ition ale, our 9th ale to be launched, is a Dark Porter (4.5%) produced by Ascot Ales which is to be called Ebony & Ivory (a dark beer contrasting with Howling’s all white outfit). We now have both a locally brewed Co-ALE-ition Stout (Monsters In The Dark) and a Porter (Ebony & Ivory) to replace the Co-ALE-ition stout and porter brewed by the Somerset breweries (Milk Street and Cheddar Ales) which were launched in late Dec 2013 but struggled to sell.
The pumpclip photo is new and very recent i.e. it was taken at the 2014 OMRLP annual conference in Wales at the end of Sept thanks to the Flying Brick. The people featured on this new pumpclip photo are as follows: Howling is right in the front and from left to right at the back are Arty Pole from Lincolnshire, Baron Von Thunderclap from West Sussex, Lady Helenbak from Derbyshire, Anna Mona Lisa (Welsh Loonys), Giles Greenwood (Rochdale Loonys). Giles has already been in touch after securing an order for Ebony & Ivory from his local pub in Shropshire. A photo of Howling has featured on all 9 Co-ALE-ition pumpclips so far, photos of the Baron have featured on 3 Co-ALE-ition pumpclips so far and a photo of the Flying Brick, RU Seerius, Knigel Knapp and Chinners has featured on 2 Co-ALE-ition pumpclips so far.
Ebony & Ivory will be officially launched at the 4 day Halloween Ale Festival held at the Rose and Crown in Sandhurst (Berkshire) at 7pm on Thursday 30th October. Ebony & Ivory will be in very good company as three other Co-ALE-ition ales i.e. Monster Mash, Monsters In The Dark and HowlinGale will also be available at what is widely regarded as one of the best Halloween Ale Festivals in the South and SE.
Ascot Ales’ Hope & Glory IPA is officially now the No 1 selling Co-ALE-ition ale having taken over this mantle from Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition during the month of October. Over 10,000 pints of Hope & Glory have now been drunk in more than 70 different pubs since the launch event took place in Dec 2013.
30,000 pints of Co-ALE-ition ale have now been drunk in over 150 different venues.
Howling has been given the privilege of securing our 10th Co-ALE-ition ale. He has made good progress at a recent second meeting with his contact at the Hogs Back brewery nearby in Surrey. Hogs Back have offered to rebrand their most famous ale (TEA) which is a low abv bitter and if they do this Co-ALE-ition ale will enjoy very wide distribution in terms of the number of pubs it is available in as Hogs Back are by far the biggest micro brewery in our area. The planned launch date is late January 2015 and this Co-ALE-ition ale should then be around until after the 2015 General Election. The standard Hogs Back pumpclips always feature a giant hog so the challenge for the new Co-ALE-ition pumpclip is to get our Boss Hog sitting on top of their hog, now that is what I would call “hogging the bar”.
There is also good news around the corner involving Wild Weather’s HowlinGale (aka Howling ale). Wetherspoon’s real ale wholesaler (East West Ltd) has recently agreed that HowlinGale can be included on Wetherspoon’s quarterly list of real ales in 2015 i.e. Jan to March quarter or April to June quarter. This would mean that a Co-ALE-ition ale i.e. HowlinGale would then become available for all 900+ Wetherspoon pubs around the UK to order for a period of 3 months. HowlinGale will also be the next Co-ALE-ition ale to go into The Strangers Bar at the Houses of Parliament sometime during the early part of 2015 and definitely before the May General Election.
Photos of Howling together with good coverage in stories have featured three times this year in the Wetherspoon’s quarterly magazine which is read by millions of people across the whole country. On the back of all this Wetherspoons publicity, Howling is aiming to set up a meeting with Wetherspoons early in the New Year to take this partnership to the next level, so watch this space.
The CAMRA Good Beer Guide (GBG) for 2015 came out in Sept 2014. The pub entry on pages 184/185 for the Prince Arthur in Fleet states the following:-
“The house beer, Winning Co-ALE-ition, is Longdog Brindle Bitter, renamed in association with the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, whose leader lives locally and is a regular” The CAMRA GBG is the bible for CAMRA’s 170K members and is purchased and read by millions of people every year. In mid Oct, six guys popped into the Prince Arthur in Fleet asking for Howling and were disappointed to hear he was not in and also that Winning Co-ALE-ition was not available either.
Several CAMRA branches have approached Derrill asking him to write a Co-ALE-ition story with a local flavour for their branch magazines. So far Derrill has produced 2 page stories and photos for Beer Lines (CAMRA North Hants branch mag) and Mine’s A Pint (CAMRA Reading and Mid Berks branch mag) in October.
Co-ALE-ition sales continue to go from strength to strength with record monthly sales achieved in November mainly through the efforts and commitment of Chris Gill and at Ascot Ales brewery. Ascot Ales have now sold 250 casks (this represents over 17,000 pints sold) of Co-ALE-ition ale in the 1st year of production.
Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition continues to sell very well at The Prince Arthur in Fleet but is rarely seen these days at other venues so the Prince Arthur is definitely the place to go if you want to drink our very 1st Co-ALE-ition ale.
Total sales of Co-ALE-ition are edging ever closer to another milestone i.e. 500 casks (35,000 pints) and more than 10 new pubs are ordering a Co-ALE-ition ale every month now. Co-ALE-ition ales have been sold in 14 different counties of England plus Central London and Wales as well. Both Winning Co-ALE-ition and Hope & Glory have now sold more than 10,000 pints.
Ascot Ales brewery’s Ebony & Ivory was successfully launched at the 4 day Halloween Ale Festival at the Rose & Crown in Sandhurst in late Oct/early Nov where all 4 Co-ALE-ition ales sold out very quickly. Unfortunately Howling arrived very late for the official opening event and missed the photo session with two local newspapers. Being Halloween, Howling came in a pumpkin style hat completely hiding his face and was dressed in all black so very few people recognised him. Over 1000 pints of Ebony & Ivory were sold in the first month of production and Giles Greenwood (guy with the hoody on the Ebony & Ivory pumpclip) has recently confirmed an order for Ebony & Ivory from his local village pub in Shropshire.
There was an excellent three page article in CAMRA’s “Mine’s A Pint” about Co-ALE-ition and the Loony Party, this can be viewed at the Co-ALE-ition newspaper cuttings section on the OMRLP website. There will also be 2 page Co-ALE-ition/Loony Party articles appearing in two more CAMRA magazines – Beer Lines and News & Ale over the next couple of months.
Wild Weather are currently in deep discussions with Wetherspoons regarding the opportunity of “HowlinGale” becoming available in their 900+ Wetherspoon pubs i.e. across the whole of the UK for a three month period in the run up to the 2015 General Election. A new HowlinGale pumpclip (see picture), which was deemed to be acceptable to Wetherspoons, has been specially designed by Wild Weather for this very purpose. If successful this Co-ALE-ition opportunity could further open the door for Howling to have further discussions with Wetherspoons about sponsoring the OMRLP’s 2015 General Election campaign.
Howling is still in discussions with the Hogs Back local brewery in Surrey about producing a Co-ALE-ition rebranded bitter (HBB). Hogs Back are by far the largest micro brewery in our area and if it goes ahead this new Co-ALE-ition ale should have a very wide pub distribution in the run up to the 2015 General Election. Howling is confident that everything will be agreed with the Hogs Back brewery before he goes away on holiday in January ready for a launch event when he comes back to the UK in mid February. There are no pumpclip designs or even the name of the ale which I can share with you at the moment, but hopefully, as these discussions have been ongoing since April we are not far away from a successful conclusion.
The Nags Head in Reading became the 1st pub to sell all 7 Co-ALE-ition ales, they took Ebony & Ivory in the month of November. On my recent visit to the Nags Head they also had a bottle of Monster Mash, signed by Howling, positioned alongside several other very rare bottles of ale, right above the bar.
Derrill was away on holiday for three weeks in November, he went to Singapore for 3 days and then had 2 weeks in Sydney. Whilst he was away he maximised the opportunity to promote the Co-ALE-ition range of ales via a bottle of Monster Mash which also at the same time publicised the OMRLP. In Singapore Derrill visited the world famous Long Bar located in the Raffles Hotel. Susan, his wife, was drinking the legendary Singapore Sling cocktails at £15 a go and throwing empty peanut shells everywhere but Monster Mash still managed to make its mark in this exalted company. Draft Tiger Beer was on sale everywhere in Singapore and after that the choice was an imported bottle, Monster Mash would have made a killing if it had been on sale.
Derrill managed to blag his way into the cocktail bar on the top floor (57th) of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel which is not only the most expensive hotel in the world but also the most expensive building in the world. Danny, the top cocktail shaker, who was from Las Vegas, personally made Susan’s Singapore Sling and as we sat at the bar the conversation turned to Monster Mash and the OMRLP. Danny took down details of the OMRLP website address and after his return from his break he asked Derrill to take some photos of him with Monster Mash which Derrill was more than willing to do. Danny told Derrill he was going to send these photos to all of his family and friends most of whom were in the USA.
Nobody Derrill first spoke to in Sydney had even heard of the OMRLP, or indeed recognised Howling our esteemed Leader, which initially surprised Derrill but by the time he was leaving Australia everybody he had got to know over the two weeks not only knew about Howling the Aussie TV star but they wanted to know more about the Loony Party and their Co-ALE-ition ales as well.
Monster Mash was taken to the very top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge by Derrill’s wife Susan, Derrill chickened out saying “it was a bridge too far” but he was photo’d with a bottle of Monster Mash half way up the Sydney Harbour Bridge with the iconic Sydney Opera House in the background. Both of these photos have been sent to the two main Sydney daily newspapers – The Herald and The Observer who heard about Derrill’s visit and asked him to submit a story which he sent to them in early Dec.
A visit to The Royal Albert pub in Surry Hills proved to be very beneficial. There was an ale on sale (see photo) from the other Mash brewery, this one is based in Swan Valley, Western Australia. Derrill has since got in touch with the Mash brewery in Western Australia and they have agreed to rebrand their very popular 4.5% apple cider which they call “Crush” as Monster Mash, this rebranded craft cider will soon be available both on draft and also in a bottle.
One of the highlights for Derrill was a visit to the Harts pub in The Rocks area of Sydney. The Harts pub, which is owned by the Rocks micro brewery, is Sydney’s premier real ale pub which always has at least one real ale available on handpump. Derrill was in the Hart pub with the locals on the Friday night immediately after the Rochester & Strood by-election result. He was amazed when the TVs in the pub were showing the Australian News and BBC World News and there on the TV screen was Howling over 12,000 miles away with his arms being raised by Nigel Farage at the UKIP celebration party. This News clip video (3 mins) can be viewed on the main OMRLP website, the bit Derrill saw in Australia kicks in around 2.25 mins. The discussion afterwards in the Australian TV studios, prompted by Nigel Farage’s throwaway comment, centred on whether Howling was going to become the next big name defector to UKIP. This News item was repeated every 30 mins that night and it did wonders for both the credibility of the OMRLP and our Co-ALE-ition ales. Since then The Rocks brewery have since agreed to rebrand their Convict Lager (5.1% abv) and the name we have selected is “Co-ALE-ition On The Rocks” The ALE stands for Australian Loony Experience and the present Australian Govt is also a Co-ALE-ition and is seen to be failing so a good link there as well
The Rocks brewery and the OMRLP seem like a perfect fit e.g. The Rocks brewery slogan is “Brewers with Conviction” because the two owners are 5th and 6th generation decendents from British convicts and Howling is at his happiest when he can play his “get out of jail” card!!
Derrill also had some early success at the Lord Nelson micro brewery and pub which was again in The Rocks area of Sydney. The Lord Nelson is the oldest pub brewery in Australia and is also the oldest licensed hotel in Sydney. When the Landlord saw the bottle of Monster Mash and heard about the Howling Laud he agreed that the bottle of Monster Mash could make an appearance in The Lord’s’ Tray which again stimulated lots of interest and conversation. Since Derrill’s return to the UK he has been in conversation with his contact at The Lord Nelson brewery about a Co-ALE-ition ale and further discussions have taken place about rebranding one of their two session ales – Three Sheets or Quayle Ale with the following name suggested – Laud Help Us!
Howling always said he wanted to have a cider and a lager in the Co-ALE-ition portfolio and now two Australian micro breweries are going to deliver this wish in plenty of time before the 2015 UK General Election. The next step in the process will be to get some bottles exported from Australia to Fleet. The one guarantee is that Co-ALE-ition On The Rocks lager will defintely be a much bigger seller than Fosters Lager in Australia as Fosters has not been available in Australia since 1999 despite the UK adverts telling us that Fosters Lager is the No 1 selling lager in Australia!
Derrill also visited Palm Beach which has Summer Bay at its Northern end. Summer Bay is where they film the Aussie soap “Home and Away”. Filming was taking place that day, Derrill and Susan were used as extras and were filmed eating a meal in the restaurant, Derrill took the opportunity whilst he was there to get Monster Mash some exposure on the Home and Away film set.
Derrill did have a couple of failures, the first one involved the US actor Bruce Willis who was filming at Sentosa Island (Singapore), Bruce was not interested in Monster Mash and his entourage quickly moved him on when he stepped alongside Bruce. Monster Mash also went along to the Sydney Cricket Ground for the Australia v South Africa cricket match but unfortunately the glass bottled version of Monster Mash was not allowed inside the ground but photos were still taken outside which fitted the occasion to a T.
By now competition was building up in the other Sydney pubs Derrill had visited e.g. Quarrymans, Local Taphouse, 4Pines and the YarmArm both at Manly as they all wanted a souvenir bottle of Monster Mash, Derrill had only taken three bottles with him so he ran a competition for the best photos taken with a bottle of Monster Mash and the three winners were judged to be as follows:-
Co-ALE-ition had a very successful end to the year with almost 4000 pints drunk over the Xmas/New Year holiday period. Total sales are edging ever closer to 40,000 pints and almost 200 different pubs have now ordered and sold at least one of our Co-ALE-ition ales. The target was to exceed 50,000 pints of Co-ALE-ition sales before the 2015 General Election in early May.
Ascot Ales’ Hope & Glory remains the most successful Co-ALE-ition ale with 12,000 pints sold in its very first year. This is a Single Hop IPA where IPA does not stand for India Pale Ale but reflects the No 1 objective of the Loony Party entering into a Co-ALE-ition with the Conservatives i.e. Insanity Prevents Austerity. Hope & Glory uses a different variety of Single Hop every month which means that over the course of the year there have been 12 different versions of our most popular Co-ALE-ition ale.
In total, the Ascot Ales brewery with their three popular Co-ALE-ition ales,(Hope & Glory, Monsters In The Dark and Ebony & Ivory), have now sold 250 casks i.e. 17,500 pints. The Prince Arthur in Fleet is out on its own as the most successful Co-ALE-ition pub with over 10,000 pints of Co-ALE-ition sold so far. The multi CAMRA award winning Nags Head pub in Reading remain the only pub who have sold all 7 Co-ALE-ition ales including 6 at the very same time (Co-ALE-ition 1st year Anniversary Party in Aug 2014).
The Royal Military Academy In Sandhurst (Berkshire) where Prince Andrew graduated ordered 4 casks of Co-ALE-ition from Ascot Ales brewery for their Xmas dinners, functions and events. Would love to have been there and seen the next generation of Army officers after a session on “Monsters In The Dark” or indeed “Ebony & Ivory”.
Chris Gill, the Owner and Head Brewer of Ascot Ales said in a recent local CAMRA magazine article at the end of 2014 “Working with the OMRLP to rebrand three of our most popular ales as Co-ALE-ition has had a very positive impact on our sales. Derrill and Alan, through their many pub and CAMRA connections together with the extensive publicity and promotional campaigns they have organised have introduced Ascot Ales brewery to lots of new customers. As a direct result of our involvement with the OMRLP and Co-ALE-ition our sales and profits have grown considerably and I have now been able to take on an additional member of the sales team”.
There was a big demand for bottles of Monster Mash over Xmas, Derrill had a few cases of his own which were quickly snapped up and he could easily have sold over 50 cases (600 bottles) from the middle of December if the stock had been available.
We reached another milestone on Dec 2014 when our 100th different Co-ALE-ition story appeared in a newspaper. There are at least 5 more Co-ALE-ition stories in the pipeline which will appear in newspapers or magazines over the next 2 months.
Still no further news to report on any of the three big projects for 2015 i.e. launch of Hogs Back brewery’s Co-ALE-ition bitter session ale, Wild Weather’s HowlinGale appearing on Wetherspoon’s quarterly list for all 900+ pubs to order from during April and May and also HowlinGale going into the Strangers Bar (Houses of Parliament) between Feb and early May.
Monster Mash cider will be launched in a bottle in Australia over the Australia Day weekend (24th to 26th Jan), a case of 12 bottles is winging its way too me. Our Aussie lager “Co-ALE-ition On The Rocks” should be available on draft in several Sydney pubs from early Feb onwards.
10.Howling is hoping to arrange a meeting with Simonds brewery (used to be in Reading) to explore a European Co-ALE-ition opportunity whilst he is away in Malta from mid Jan to mid Feb but he still expects to have tied up the Hogs Back launch arrangements before he goes away.
Some good publicity for the OMRLP and Co-ALE-ition in a New Statesman story as a result of an interview held with Howling in the Prince Arthur in Fleet.
In the quest for 2015 General Election sponsorship there is some great coverage of Howling and the OMRLP in the next edition of Wetherspoon’s quarterly magazine (due out in early Feb 2015) which will be available in their 900+ pubs across the whole of the UK.
Great to see Eric Morecambe back in situ on Morecambe Prom after somebody sawed through one of his legs in an attempt to steal him presumably for the value of the metal. After three months away for repairs Eric returned much wiser from the experience and was welcomed back by over 10,000 people on Morecambe seafront where local Loony Party sympathiser, Mike “Geordie” Carlin (he used to stay with Howling at the D&P in Yateley) ensured Eric was able to celebrate his return with a bottle of Monster Mash overlooking Morecambe Bay and the Lake District.
Derrill Carr’s daughter, Melanie, climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania in Africa) in late Dec. The climb took a total of 6 days (40 miles) and she got to the very top (20,000 feet above sea level) on New Year’s Day. She raised over £4000 for her chosen charity (Lymphona and Leukaemia research) and also took a bottle of Monster Mash to the very top with her. Melanie’s first text back to her parents after 21 hours trekking that day said “I made it to the very top and so did Monster Mash”. Who said Howling and the Loony Party had peaked some years ago and then went on to say they will never reach such heights again?
Melanie gave the bottle of Monster Mash to her African guide as a momento and he in return gave her a bottle of Kilimanjaro brewed Lager to bring back home for Derrill. The African guide has since come back to Melanie on an email wanting to know more about the OMRLP, their Co-ALE-ition ales and who the people are on the label of the bottle of Monster Mash, R U Seerius could Howling, Baron, Flying Brick, Chinners and Big Fibber now be more well known in parts of Africa than they are in parts of the UK?
Monster Mash on its World Tour over the last 2 months has now appeared alongside the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Summer Bay (Home and Away film set), Sydney Cricket Ground, Bondi Beach, the famous Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, 57th floor of the most expensive hotel in the world i.e. the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore and has now been to the very top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Monster Mash has visited three other continents in addition to other parts of Europe i.e. Asia, Australasia and Africa. It is fair to say that people in Sydney, Singapore and Kilimanjaro are now far more aware of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party than UKIP and the three main stream parties in the UK.
OMRLP member and supporter, Martin Hannah (Lord Hannah of Pilcot) died in early January 2015. Martin was also a supporter of our Co-ALE-ition ales, he attended three Co-ALE-ition launch events including the Winning Co-ALE-ition launch event at the Prince Arthur in Fleet in Sept 2013. Here is a photo of Martin with Howling, Stephen Gorys (Chairman of Hart Council) and Sir Gerald Howarth (MP for Aldershot) at the Prince Arthur launch event. Martin also bought a case 12 bottles) of Monster Mash even though his drink of personal choice was brandy.
Great story about the OMRLP in the New Statesman in Dec featuring Howling and quotes from several members of the OMRLP Caninet. The reporter met Howling in the Prince Arthur in Fleet and said “Everyone in the Prince Arthur greeted him warmly, there was a beer on tap called The Winning Co-ALE-ition and the pumpclip had a picture of David Cameron holding Hope’s arm aloft”
Alan “Howling Laud” Hope was away in Malta for a month in Jan/Feb so Derrill took over the lead on the Hogs Back brewery negotiations at was the most critical time to try to ensure the delivery and availability of our 10th Co-ALE-ition ale, brewed especially for the 2015 General Election. Derrill struck up a very good working relationship with Jill Adams (Hogs Back brewery’s new Marketing Manager) and was able to make real progress in just a few weeks after initial discussions had taken place nine months previously and had then stalled for 6 months. The aim was to have this new Co-ALE-ition ale launched by mid March and for it to be on sale to lots of pubs from late March onwards. The pumpclip design and production went very smoothly and the Hogs Back designers created a brilliant caricature of Howling in his all white outfit but with a hog’s face and hands (see photo). There was a slight delay as the original name selected by Hogs Back brewery “Thirst Past the Post” had already been used by another brewery and the decision was taken by Hogs Back to come up with another name which Derrill duly did with Co-ALE-it10n “Hog In the Limelight” (refers to Howling “Hogging The Limelight” and centre stage at General Election time.)
Derrill has now not only come up with the brand name “Co-ALE-ition” but he has also come up with the names of all ten of the Co-ALE-ition ales plus the new OMRLP interpretations of ALE (Another Loony Experience) contained in the name Co-ALE-ition, IPA (Insanity Prevents Austerity) and GOLD (George Osborne Lowers Duty) etc. Who said Accountants were only bean counters and could never be creative!
Whilst Howling was in Malta he once again approached the Maltese brewery, Simonds Farsons Cisk (SFC), who had previous close connections/affiliations to Reading, to discuss the opportunity to brew the very first Co-ALE-ition international lager. However for the second year running Alan was unable to arrange a meeting with SFC and could not make any progress at all, so this opportunity is no longer being pursued.
Negotiations continued with Wetherspoons regarding seeking their agreement for a Co-ALE-ition ale to go onto Wetherspoons quarterly list of real ales for the three month period starting in April and ending in June 2015. The specific aim was to have a Co-ALE-ition ale available throughout the whole of the UK in the run up to the 2015 General Election and for this ale to be available for all 930 Wetherspoon pubs to order. Derrill approached all of the Co-ALE-ition breweries about this opportunity but apart from Wild Weather they all declined. Derrill was fully supported in this quest by Mike Tempest (Owner and Head Brewer of Wild Weather). After 12 months of working on this major objective, agreement was finally obtained from East West/Wetherspoons at the end of January 2015. This agreement would never have happened without the tremendous support we received from David Aucott of East West Ales (Wetherspoon’s wholesale supplier of all their real ales). The original HowlinGale pumpclip, featuring David Cameron and Alan Hope, was replaced by a more modern style HowlinGale pumpclip which featured a relaxed/laid back Howling on his own. This version was quickly approved as it was considered to be less provocative and more acceptable to the Wetherspoon management and their customers. Since then over 1000 of these new HowlinGale pumpclips have been produced and pre-distributed to all 900+ Wetherspoon pubs in late March/early April.
Alan Hope, had a previous beer sales connection with Dave Paterson when Howling was Landlord of the Dog and Partridge at Yatelely, Dave is the current Hogs Back brewery Sales Manager and Alan through his relationship with Dave was instrumental in getting, what remains by far the biggest micro brewery in our area, to produce our 10th Co-ALE-ition ale. The ale selected for rebranding was Hogs Back Bitter (HBB) which is a 4% abv session ale. Hogs Back brewery have more than 800 clients and an extended reach in terms of sales distribution so hopes were very high that Co-ALEit10N Hog In The Limelight would become our No 1 selling Co-ALE-ition ale in the two month run up to the General Election through to early May.
Co-ALE-ition “Hog in the Limelight” brewed by Hogs Back brewery in Tongham (Surrey) was officially launched on 12th March 2015 at the Hogs Back brewery at an event hosted by David Paterson (Sales Manager) and Jill Adams (Marketing Manager). We then visited four local pubs i.e. Nelson Arms (Farnham), Shepherd & Flock (Farnham), The Queen (Aldershot) and the White Hart (Tongham). Hog in The Limelight was available on handpump in all four of these pubs, voted best pint of HITL on the night was the White Hart very closely followed by the Nelson Arms. Best Launch Party atmosphere and customer/staff involvement was at The Queen in Aldershot.
Wild Weather’s HowlinGale was relaunched in late March 2015 to officially celebrate the three month Wetherspoons contract agreement, covering the months of April, May and June 2015 to supply up to 930 Wetherspoon pubs in the UK with HowlinGale. These launch events took place on 25/26 March at the Wild Weather brewery in Silchester (Hants/Berks border) and also in three pubs in Newbury — Cow and Cask served straight from the cask, Hatchet (Wetherspoons) and at the Wild Weather tap takeover held at the Catherine Wheel. We were joined by Tim Thomas and other CAMRA members from the local branch. Photos from these special launch events, together with a feature story, will appear in Wetherspoons next quarterly magazine which is due out in early June and in the Newbury CAMRA branch magazine called Ullage also due out in June.
A decision was made in January to specially promote and publicise just five of our ten Co-ALE-ition ales in the run up to the 2015 General Election. The Famous Five as these Co-ALE-ition ales were referred to were selected based on three different criteria i.e. the most consistently successful selling Co-ALE-ition ales, co-operation, communication and commitment from the brewery and finally the reach in terms of their customer base and delivery range. The five Co-ALE-ition ales specially selected for our 2015 General Election promotion and publicity campaigns were: Hope & Glory (Ascot), Hog In The Limelight (Hogs Back), Monsters In The Dark (Ascot), HowlinGale (Wild Weather) and Ebony & Ivory (Ascot). A very good selection of ales were included in the Famous Five as there was a low strength session bitter, a stout, a porter, an IPA and a low strength dark old ale/mild which also supported CAMRA’s Mild Month of May campaign. Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition and Langham’s Co-ALE-ition Gold were expected to only be on sale at the Prince Arthur in Fleet during the period until after the General Election results were announced and a new Govt was formed in early May 2015.
Ascot Ales offered a special promotion deal to pubs in the run up to the General Election. Any pub ordering all three of Ascot’s Co-ALE-ition ales at the very same time would receive an additional 10% discount and therefore pay less than £200 (excl VAT) for three (9 gallon) casks including delivery.
Ascot’s Co-ALE-ition ales go from strength to strength. Hope & Glory featured at CAMRA’s National Winter Ale Festival in Derby in Feb and also appeared at both the Wigan Ale Festival and the Atherton Ale Festival. Monsters In the Dark was on sale at the Reading Ale Festival in April, Hogs Back, Longdog, Mash, Wild Weather and Mash were also there but their Co-ALE-ition ales were not invited. In addition Ascot Ales won three awards (1 Gold and 2 Bronze) at the London and SE Champion Beer of Britain awards in March. CAMRA 2014 Top 16 in the UK pub, the Five Bells at Wickham, sold a Co-ALE-ition ale for the very first time, it was Monsters In The Dark which they selected.
Alan, Derrill and the Lawsons (Steve & Joy) attended the opening events in early March at the new Wetherpoon pub in Alton (Hampshire) called the Ivy House, there were no Co-ALE-ition ales on sale which was disappointing and Howling was not invited to attend the opening ceremony. I think they thought Howling would be “Hogging The Limelight” again just as he did at The Queen (Aldershot) opening event held about a year ago.
There has been lots of recent coverage in local CAMRA branch Magazines about the Co-ALE-ition success story e.g. Surrey & Hants Borders branch ” News & Ale ” magazine (3 pages), Reading & Mid Berks branch “Mines a Pint” magazine (3 pages) and North Hants branch “Beer Lines” magazine (2 pages). Copies of all of these articles can be read in the Co-ALE-ition section of the OMRLP website in the Newspaper Cuttings subsection. There will also be a Co-ALE-ition story about our recent visit to Newbury to launch HowlinGale in the CAMRA West Berks branch magazine which is called “Ullage” in the edition due out in June.
Alan “Howling Laud” Hope had a half page feature all on his own in Wetherspoon’s quarterly magazine – Spring edition (March 2015). Howling was described in this feature as a “Wetherspoon ambassador” and the story highlighted his strong passion for retaining old historic buildings in town centres and his special interest in visiting different Wetherspoon pubs as he tours the UK in his official capacity as Leader of the OMRLP – Alan has been to over 500 Wetherspoon pubs since he became OMRLP Leader in 1999. There are 57,000 copies of the Wetherspoon magazine issued every quarter (bigger circulation than OK magazine) and the magazine is read by millions of people in Wetherspoon pubs across the whole country. We hoped that this story would help to further highlight Howling’s role and high profile with Wetherspoon’s management and lead to some OMRLP sponsorship in time for the 2015 General Election. There will be another feature on Co-ALE-ition and Howling in the June (Summer) edition of Wetherspoon’s magazine at the Wetherspoon’s special launch of HowlingGale in late March at the Wild Weather brewery and in three pubs in Newbury. After Tim Martin (Owner and Founder of Wetherspoons), Howling is the next most regularly featured person in the Wetherspoon’s quarterly magazine i.e. 5 feature stories, all of them including photos, have appeared about Howling since Jan 2014. Further very exciting news is expected to follow in early May about some JDW sponsorship of the OMRLP.
Nigel Knapp and the Big Fibbers recorded their version of Monster Mash. the legendary 60’s record, which celebrated Co-ALE-ition Monster Mash ale in a bottle as brewed by the Mash brewery from East Stratton (Hants). Monster Mash ale has a special place in the hearts of the OMRLP as this was the first and only Co-ALE-ition ale launch when Howling and the entire OMRLP cabinet, all six of whom featured on the actual pumpclip, attended together. We all had a great night after the brewery launch at two Winchester pubs and at the same time the OMRLP launched their European Election manifesto to the Press.
The words of the original Monster Mash song were even changed to incorporate Mash brewery and East Stratton. This is yet another OMRLP first as there has never been a song recorded about about an ale before. A special video was produced which featured members of the OMRLP dancing along to Monster Mash. So far there have been over 2800 views of this Monster Mash video and it has been very well received and given lots of publicity and promotion. The next challenge is to get as many people downloading this Monster Mash record during w/c 4th May so that it can make the Top 40 in General Election week on 10th May. Mash brewery still hope to have Monster Mash available on handpump at some pubs in the run up to the General Election but have confirmed there will not be any more bottles of Monster Mash available. The Monster Mash record launch featuring a live performance by Nigel Knapp and the Big Fibbers took place at the Rhythm Factory in Whitechapel (London). About 80 people attended this event including Andy from Mash brewery who brought along some Monster Mash ale which went down very well with everybody on the night. Emily Ashton (Buzz Feed News) and James (photographer) captured everything and there was great coverage of this live event in the press a few days later.
Dan Proctor, Manager of the Prince Arthur in Fleet for the last 4 years, left in March to go to another Wetherspoon’s pub (Quarterjack) in Wells, Somerset. Dan was a big friend and supporter of Co-ALE-ition right from the outset, and his Co-ALE-ition achievement will never be matched i.e. sold over 10,000 pints of Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition and allowed it to become the house ale and No 1 selling real ale at the Prince Arthur, sold 5 different Co-ALE-ition ales and over 12,000 pints of Co-ALE-ition ale in total, hosted the launch event for Winning Co-ALE-ition in Sept 2013 when 300 people attended the Prince Arthur and also the 1st year Co-ALE-ition anniversary event in Sept 2014. In both 2014 & 2015 the Prince Arthur in Fleet was included in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide for the first time for seven years and the GBG contains a reference to the Leader of the OMRLP and the house Co-ALE-ition ale which has attracted visitors to the Prince Arthur from all around the UK. Bart Longier, the new Manager at the Prince Arthur and Ale Champion/top cellarman Bob Long have both confirmed their continued support for Co-ALE-ition ales. The Prince Arthur is putting 6 different Co-ALE-ition ales on at the Prince Arthur during the 10 days before the General Election in support of Mad Max (OMRLP candidate for North Hants) whose Campaign HQ and the OMRLP GE Victory Party, hosted by Howling and Mad Max will be held at the Prince Arthur on Frday 8th May.
Marston’s brewery claimed in their Wychwood Press Release (Bottle Party) on 25th March 2015 that it was David Cameron who came up with the Co-ALE-ition name, this Press Release has since disappeared and is no longer available on line, fortunately Howling still has a printed copy. We all know it was a DC who first came up with the name “Co-ALE-ition” and it was not David Cameron but our very own Derrill Carr, who can now proudly introduce himself as an “Official Advisor to David Cameron”. Buzz Feed News (Emily Ashton) provided excellent coverage in two separate very detailed stories “Did Cameron get his CO-ALE-ition idea from the Monster Raving Loony Party”. Emily Ashton then did a follow up on Buzz Feed News, in a new story titled “OMRLP rule out future coalition with Tories after the arrogant theft of their Co-ALE-ition brand name by David Cameron” Both of these stories, which also contained lots of photos, went viral worldwide all over the internet and were still appearing on new websites in late April, The Daily Mirror also picked up on this story and ran an online Poll amongst its readers as to which Co-ALE-ition ale they preferred, not surprisingly the Loony Party Co-ALE-ition ale secured 96% of the total votes and Cameron’s version only received 4% of the votes so in 30 years of the OMRLP this is the first time thay have come out on top of the Conservative Party, If this swing was to be repeated in the 2015 General Election the Loony Party would be elected in May with a large majority and Howling would end up in No 10. Other stories on these same themes appeared in the Times and the Telegraph. Howling complained in writing to Wychwood brewery in Witney and was offered a free brewery tour for himself and a small group after the General Election by the Sales and Marketing Director!
Wetherspoon’s website contained a Leader Board which reported the best real ale as voted for by their customers currently was Wild Weather’s Co-ALE-ition – HowlinGale (aka Howling Ale) which is way out in front with 52 votes received so far. In second place is our least favourite brewery, Wychwood from Witney, who produced those bottles of CO-ALE-ITION for David Cameron in March, with their Hobgoblin ale, which has received just 13 votes so far. Howling has now registered Co-ALE-ition as a trademark so very interesting times lie ahead, Howling has also registered Co-ALE-ition as a business name on the National Business Register so watch this space.
Howling was invited onto the BBC Politics Show on 16th April, they sent a car for him and the Lawsons went along as well for moral support. Somehow Howling managed to sneak a couple of bottles of Monster Mash ale through the security checks and he gave them to the presenters Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn on the live show itself. Andrew Neil even read a section from the Monster Mash label and confirmed that the ALE in Co-ALE-ition stood for “Another Loony Experience”. Jo Coburn mentioned copyright as part of a discussion on another subject but Howling was quick to bring up the Cameron Co-ALE-ition issue and the OMRLP’s range of Co-ALE-ition ales to which Jo Coburn remarked “I think we covered that on a previous show” and Howling agreed. Howling went on to introduce the new OMRLP sponsor whose name he had emblazoned on his rosette and then had to explain to Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn that JDW stood for JD Wetherspoon. All in all in less than 5 minutes (see the video on YouTube) excellent free publicity and promotion for the OMRLP, Howling himself, Co-ALE-ition and especially for Monster Mash ale and the Mash brewery. Unfortunately not one cask of Monster Mash was sold by Mash brewery in Feb, March or April after all the publicity and promotion directly resulting from the launch of the Monster Mash record and video and also from the live coverage to millions of people on the BBC Poltics Show.
Colin Bex, the Leader of the Wessex Regionalist Party will be standing in Witney again at the 2015 General Election. Colin is a great friend of Howling and the OMRLP and he has attended more Co-ALE-ition events than anybody else apart from Alan, Steve & Joy Lawson and Derrill Carr. The good news is that Colin has agreed to continue on our behalf the Co-ALE-ition battle with David Cameron and Wychwood brewery whilst he is campaigning in Witney.
HowlinGale was on sale at the Alexander Bain pub in Wick from 17th April. This Wetherspoons pub is their most Northerly outlet in the whole of the UK and is almost 700 miles by road from the Wild Weather brewery in Silchester.
The objective is to have a Co-ALE-ition ale selling in every UK constituency in England, Scotland and Wales. Our early focus and promotions have been on the constituency areas where the OMRLP are fielding candidates in the 2015 General Election or wjere Loony party members live nearby. So far Wetherspoon pubs in Uxbridge & Ruislip (Howling), Doncaster (Flying Brick), Oxford (Mad Hatter), Fleet (Mad Max), Swansea (Baron Barnes), Manchester (Johnny Disco & Lord Cameron), Canterbury (Hairy Knorm), Walsall (Mark Beech), Brighton (Dame Dixon and Adam Gzunder) and Witney (Colin Bex)have all sold or ordered HowlinGale. In addition Wetherspoon pubs in Burgess Hill (Baron Von Thunderclap) and Gloucester (George Ridgeon) will have HowlinGale on sale in early May as will Blackpool (Tony Davies), Matlock and hopefully Louth (Arty Pole) as well.
Over 70,000 pints of Co-ALE-ition ale have now been sold and we still remain firmly on track to sell 100,000 pints of Co-ALE-ition in 1000 different pubs by the end of June 2015. This is double the ambitious target of 50,000 pints in 500 pubs which we optimistically set ourselves back in Sept 2013 when we officially launched our very first Co-ALE-ition ale.
HowlinGale from Wild Weather brewery is already well out in front on its own as our No 1 selling Co-ALE-ition ale with 27,000 pints sold at the end of April but by the end of June 2015 we confidently expect over 50,000 pints of HowlinGale to have been consumed across the UK in around 700 different pubs. We also expect Wetherspoons to have sold a total of 1000 casks (70,000 pints) of Co-ALE-ition ales in their pubs by the end of June 2015. Both Ascot’s Hope & Glory and Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition have sold 15,000 pints which is a remarkable achievement.
However sales of Hog In The Limelight, our new Co-ALE-ition session Bitter from Hogs Back brewery, have been very disappointing so far. It is now 7 weeks after the official launch event and only 10 casks (700 pints) have been sold. Hog In the Limelight has not yet been made available in any pubs in Howling’s local area of Fleet, Farnborough and Aldershot despite there being lots of interest. On reflection we should have called this new ale “Lord Lucan’s Tipple” or “Shergar Special” as no bu**ar around here has ever seen it, never mind tasted it. It is a real shame as the pumpclip is very special and unique and the ale is excellent as well. Latest news is that Hog In The Limelight is unlikely to be available anywhere in the final week of the General Election but we are still hopeful it will be on sale at the Prince Arthur in Fleet for the Loony Party Victory Party on Friday 8th May.
At the end of April over 25,000 pints of Wild Weather’s HowlinGale had been sold in just one month (April) to around 300 Wetherspoon pubs across the whole of the UK.
As we have taken HowlinGale across the whole of the UK it has been interesting to gauge how well known the OMRLP and especially Howling are in different parts of the country. In Manchester, immediately after HowlinGale appeared in a City Centre pub, there there was an online discussion on the Untappd website asking who was the person on the front of the HowlinGale pumpclip. We all know it was the Howling Laud himself captured in a relaxed, very thoughtful mood but the consensus in Manchester is that it was actually Fred Elliott of Coronation Street fame who immortalised the phase “I say Ashley” on that TV programme. A similar discussion took place in Southampton after HowlinGale appeared in a pub in the Town Centre – the consensus there was that it was Benny Hill which Howling has since said he has been mistaken for before. Perhaps we should now consider doing a video shoot of Howling (Benny Hill style) chasing some young ladies around the gardens of the nearby Elvetham Hotel (1 mile from Fleet) which was the very same venue about 40 to 50 years ago where the original Benny Hill video shoot was filmed.
Chinners was a real star on Twitter keeping The Famous Five Co-ALE-ition ales, HowlinGale at Wetherspoons and Hog In The Limelight very well publicised and promoted. In addition Chinners arranged for Tee Shirts to be printed and made available with each of pumpclips of the Famous Five Co-ALE-ition ales printed on the front.
As Howling makes his way to Uxbridge HQ, he has three Wetherspoon pubs to choose from in Uxbridge and Ruislip who are all fully committed to selling HowlinGale in the build up to the General Election. Howling is totally focused on a BJ but he will have a TJ to look out for now as well.
Howling is ready to move the Co-ALE-ition discussion on with Wychwood brewery, he is going to propose that Wychwood brew Monster Mash ale in bottles and sell it all around the UK and internationally as well. The SNP are apparently interested as well but have said they are struggling to agree even this Co-ALE-ition with Ed Milliband but they expect him to have to agree in the next week or so. Howling will also ask for a change to be made to the Wychwood brewery label on the neck of the Co-ALE-ition bottle i.e. “Brewers of Character” to be replaced with “Brewers of Dodgy Character”
Coming soon to your local supermarket – Co-ALE-ition Monster Mash ale in a bottle. Attached above is the Wychwood bottle complete with the Monster Mash label.
Alan “Howling Laud” Hope arrived in Uxbridge on Sunday 4th May for his General Election battle with Boris “call me BJ” Johnson who now has a zero hours contract in place as Mayor of London. Howling immediately set up his HQ for the next 5 days at the Good Yarn (Wetherspoon pub) on Uxbridge High Street. Chloe, the Manager of the Good Yarn. had ensured that Howling Ale (aka Wild Weather’s HowlinGale) was available on tap all week to greet our Leader. Howling had his first pint in a Jug and was heard to say “You can call me eccentric if you like but I am still the only Party Leader with an ale named after me” Howling spent Monday on the campaign trail this was “Co-ALE-ition not General Election” visiting seven other Wetherspoon pubs in Western London extolling the virtues of Wild Weather’s HowlinGale.
Eureka moment on 3rd May for both Derrill and Howling. Over 50 days after the official launch of our 10th Co-ALE-ition ale on 12th March, they have at last found Hogs Back brewery’s “Hog In The Limelight” on sale in a local pub. The pub was the Tilly Shilling (Wetherspoons) in Farnborough and congratulations to Ben for getting Hog In The Limelight on sale during the week of the General Election. We are still hopeful that Hog In The Limelight will make an appearance at the Prince Arthur in Fleet for the Loony Party Victory Party, to be jointly hosted by Howling and Mad Max on Friday 8th May, but it is touch and go at the moment whether Hog In The Limelight will be on sale even on that special night.
Derrill went along to the 2015 Reading Ale Festival on the evening of Friday 1st May as he had been informed that 7 of the Co-ALE-ition breweries were represented at this Ale Festival i.e. Hogs Back, Ascot, Mash, Wild Weather, Longdog, Langham and Milk Street. Being the final week of the 2015 General Election, Derrill was expecting to see an array of Co-ALE-ition ales on sale from the Co-ALE-ition breweries as he thought if you cannot promote Co-ALE-ition ales in General Election week when would you promote them? Derrill was disappointed to discover when he got there that the only Co-ALE-ition ale on sale was “Monsters In The Dark”, not surprisingly from Ascot brewery. Also on sale at the 2015 Reading Ale Festival were Hogs Back HBB (aka Hog In The Limelight) and Ascot’s Single Hop (aka Hope & Glory). Wild Weather’s Howlin’Gale was also available as Black Night which was fine as last year Howlin’Gale was the only Co-ALE-ition ale to appear at the Reading Ale Festival.
Alan “Howling Laud” Hope and Max Max Bobetsky are Monster Raving Loony Party 2015 General Election candidates in Uxbridge & Ruislip and North East Hants respectively plus both of them were also candidates in the Hart DC local elections. Mad Max loves the Co-ALE-ition ales and has promoted them in the brochure he produced for his General Election campaign. Mad Max at only 20 years of age, will not only be standing as a General Election candidate for the first time but he will also be voting for the first time as well. On Friday 8th May, he will have another Loony Party record as he will become the youngest person to have drunk 6 different Co-ALE-ition ales in a single session.
A Victory Party in their honour is to be held on Friday 8th May at the Prince Arthur in Fleet. Howling and Mad Max will jointly host this event with Howling. Bob Long (Prince Arthur Ale Champion) has ensured that 7 different Co-ALE-ition ales will be on sale that night. Over 200 people have been invited including local MPs, local councillors, brewery owners and CAMRA members from three different branches.