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Jewel returns to Bass crown.

Byline: Philip Williams

Bass brought Worthington White Shield, one of the most celebrated and successful beers in UK brewing, back home to Staffordshire yesterday.

The company officially opened a bottling line inside its Burton-on-Trent Museum of Brewing which completed plans to start producing White Shield where it was established 182 years ago.

For 20 years, the beer has been produced outside Burton in ever smaller quantities, for the last three years on licence by the South Coast brewer King & Barnes.

But the installation of the museum's micro brewery for making Bass heritage beers seven years ago and the new pounds 80,000 bottling line late last year have now made it possible for Bass to take the brand, probably the most successful India Pale Ale, back in house.

It has been produced to the same basic recipe since 1829 and was favourite for British troops and civil servants in hot places across the globe for nearly a century and a half.

It caught on in this country after the advent of the railways revolutionised beer distribution and became Worthington's most successful product worldwide.

It is a sediment beer conditioned in the bottle.

Burton-based Bass, which merged with Worthington in the 1920s, intends to brew and bottle up to 700 barrels a year, or 30,000 bottles a month.

The beer, still in its livery of a white shield with black dagger, is strong (5.6 per cent abv) and has a distinct nutty flavour from the use of selected hops.

It is to be re-launched in Sainsbury, Tesco and Unwins, and the brewery is close to signing several export deals.

'This beer is the jewel in the crown in brewing in Burton-on-Trent,' said Museum head brewer Steve Wellington at yesterday's ceremony.

It was given an honour guard from the Staffordshire Regiment Whittington Barracks, marking generations of links between White Shield and the British Army. Bass still makes the Staffordshire's own regimental beer.

'This is a brewers' beer. They love it and the public have loved it too. We have a secret ingredient, tender loving care and we are going to make it grow,' said Mr Wellington, who has been plotting to get his hands on the brand for seven years.

Bass also announced yesterday that it has secured about half the pounds 600,000 it wants to spend on beefing up the museum as a national tourist attraction ahead of its silver jubilee next year.

The grant is from the European Regional Development Fund and will be matched by Bass.

There will be improvements, in the Museums galleries, computer-linked auto-guides for visitors and an upgrading of the conference centre to cater for 500 people at a time.

All will be complete in time for the 2002 jubilee, which also coincides with the Queen's Golden Jubilee and the celebration of 1000 years of brewing in Burton.

Brewers' beer: Worthington White Shield to be produced again at Burton

CAPTION(S):

Maj Tim Saunders, left, from Whittington Barracks and Steve Wellington, Head Brewer at the Bass Museum in Burton, check the Worthington White Shield brand
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 1, 2001
Words:512
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