The Co-ALE-ition Story

A successful Co-ALE-ition that delivered its targets

To mark the first UK Coalition Govt (2010 to 2015) for 70 years, Alan ‘Howling Laud’ Hope, the Leader of the Loony Party produced a range of unique beers. Alan enlisted the help of Derrill Carr, a member of CAMRA, with lots of micro brewery contacts.

The Loony Party brand name chosen for the beers was Co-ALE-ition where ALE stood for ‘Another Loony Experience’. All of the brewery pump clips initially contained a photo of David Cameron holding up the arm of Alan Hope in triumph. Howling had stood against David Cameron at Witney in the 2010 General Election, after which a five year Coalition Government formed between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Longdog, a micro brewery in Hampshire, brewed the first Co-ALE-ition beer in Sept 2013 with a bitter called ‘Winning Co-ALE-ition’. The pump clip was the Loony Party colours of yellow & black. Soon afterwards in Nov 2013 Langhams, a micro brewery in Sussex, brewed a golden ale ‘Co-ALE-ition Gold’ where GOLD stood for ‘George Osborne’s Loony Duty’ referring to the Chancellor’s obsession with putting up beer duty every year. Three more beers were launched in Dec 2013 – Ascot micro brewery in Surrey brewed an IPA called ‘Hope & Glory’ where IPA stood for ‘Insanity Prevents Austerity’ highlighting the positive impact the Loony Party would have had on a Coalition Govt with the Conservatives. Two Somerset micro breweries Mild Street & Cheddar Gorge, brewed a Stout ‘Dark Side’ and a Porter ‘In the Black’. In April 2014 Berkshire micro brewery Wild Weather brewed a Dark Mild ‘Howlin’ Gale’ which also quickly became known as ‘Howling Ale’. In May 2014, Mash, a Hampshire micro brewery, brewed a Blond beer called ‘Monster Mash’ which for the first time featured a picture of the whole Loony Party Cabinet on the pump clip. Mash produced a bottled version of Monster Mash and the 1000 limited edition bottles completely sold out in less than a month. Nigel Knapp and the Big Fibbers recorded a special version of Monster Mash in celebration of the beer. In Oct 2014 Ascot, a Surrey micro brewery, brewed two dark beers, a Porter called ‘Ebony & Ivory’ and a Stout called ‘Monsters in the Dark’. Then in Jan 2015, Hogs Back, a micro brewery in Surrey, brewed a best bitter ‘Hog In the Limelight’ to celebrate Alan Hope standing in the 2015 General Election in Uxbridge against Boris Johnson and hogging the limelight. JD Wetherspoon’s selected Wild Weather’s ‘Howlin’ Gale’ to be one of the specially selected beers available during the May 2015 General Election and over 400 different Wetherspoon pubs in all parts of the country sold it. The final two Co-ALE-ition beers, making 12 in total, were brewed in June 2015 using a special photo taken at the 2015 General Election of Alan Hope stood next to Boris Johnson, one was ‘Blonde Ambition’ brewed by Ascot brewery and the other was ‘Monster Crush’ brewed by the Wild Weather brewery. The end of the UK Coalition Govt in May 2015 also brought an end to the Loony Party’s involvement in the Co-ALE-ition brand and their partnership with eight micro breweries.

The Loony Party benefited from ‘Co-ALE-ition’ due to the positive publicity in the media from the beer launches and personal appearances by Alan Hope. There were hundreds of articles in newspapers and magazines but also on TV 2015_2511_Daily_Politics_948and radio shows. More than 100,000 pints of the Loony Party’s Co-ALE-ition beer were drunk in 600 different pubs across the whole country including England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Two of the Co-ALE-ition beers, Longdog’s Winning Co-ALE-ition and Ascot’s Blond Ambition, featuring pump clips of Alan Hope with David Cameron and Alan Hope with Boris Johnson were sold in the ‘Strangers Bar’ at the House of Commons for a period of a week in both 2014 and 2016. The OMRLP were well represented in the Strangers Bar when both of these Co-ALE-ition beers went on sale. Four MPs joined us including Simon Hughes (Lib Dems MP for Bermondsey) who stood against Screaming Lord Sutch the very first time the OMRLP stood at a major Election (Bermondsey By Election in Feb 1983). To mark the end of the 2010-2015 Coalition Govt, David Cameron arranged for 50 bottles of special beer to be brewed by a brewery in his Constituency – he used the Loony party’s brand name ‘Co-ALE-ition’ without permission and put a photo of himself and Nick Clegg on each bottle, proving that imitation is the best form of flattery.