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Nick Toh, 29, is a financial analyst who lives in south London

The top half of the bottle looks like a traditional old ale and the bottom bit looks more arty. The logo in the middle is smaller than it would normally be and looks a little lost, while the wording down the side is not obvious enough. If they're trying to give it a new image it'd be better to do one or the other because the two elements on the label don't work well together. It looks as if it's trying to appeal to two markets, the traditional and the modern, but it's falling between two stools. The beer smells like most bitters, but it's got quite a lot more gas than I would've expected. People drinking ale for the first time might pick it up, but real ale drinkers would probably be cynical about why they're trying to make it look trendy.

Rating out of 25 - 15

THE EXPERT Sally Easton Master of Wine and wine buyer for Berry Brothers and Rudd

This ale has a vibrant golden-amber colour and nutty, honeyed, hoppy nose. The attack is fresh and smooth with the sweet, aromatic flavours indicated on the nose. It is full bodied with complex dried fruit and caramel notes and has the acidity to balance these rich flavours, leaving the palate clean and fresh. The finish has good length and character. The packaging is modern and simple in a stylish heavyweight bottle which is consistent with the high quality of the ale. Retailing at 1.65 [pounds sterling] a bottle this is a sound commercial proposition and it deserves to do very well.

Success rating out of 25 - 23

THE DESIGNER Graham Shearsby Board creative director, graphics, at Design Bridge

I admire the Classic simplicity of the bottle. It is impressive with strong elegant lines and I like the individual quirkyness of the shape at the top of the neck. I am not going to be too hard on the graphics but in my opinion I reckon they could have been even simpler and still have had the same powerful effect. In addition, more could have been made of the use of the trademark windmill icon on the front of the pack which would have added some real brand credibility. Nevertheless this is a distinctive and quietly confident pack which will create waves in the premium packaged ale market.

Success rating out of 25 - 20

THE BUYER Steve Mayes Category controller at Landmark

Ale lovers will be delighted to see Bateman's back on track after their recent setbacks. With XXXB they have a product with excellent potential. The packaging is striking with a deliciously contoured bottle and elegant graphics that will outshine the competition on shelf. From the packaging you would struggle to identify the product as a pale ale. It looks more like a chunky Pride or Pedigree bitter. Although eminently chuckdownable, it was a little short on length. It is good looking and it is also a tasty pale ale with 4.8% abv to keep you smiling. Looks like a winner to me.

Success rating out of 25 - 22

Total score out of 100 - 78

From Bateman's: The Lincolnshire brewer has recently relaunched the range and is rebuilding the brand's reputation. Abv: 4.8% Price: 1.59 [pounds sterling] - 1.65 [pounds sterling]
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Title Annotation:reviews of Bateman's ale
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 14, 2000
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