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Tasting panel: Sun and Planet steam ale. (Beers Wines Spirits).

TARGET CONSUMER Roy Hayes, 71, retired engineer and bookseller from Beckenham, Kent

I am a committed draught beer drinker in pubs, but I usually turn to wine at home. However, being presented with a bottle of Sun and Planet I found it refreshing and very palatable.

It had a good flavour, more so than many other bottled beers I have tried. With regard to the name, I am at a loss to understand the association between beer and Sun and Planet, but perhaps that is irrelevant. The label has an attractive design with good colour contrasts.

If I was looking along the supermarket shelves to select a bottled beer, the name Shepherd Neame would influence that selection because of the brewer's pubs and draught beer activities. Therefore, I think the brewer's name could be more prominently displayed.

Having enjoyed the beer I will be buying more. Rating out of 25 - 18

THE EXPERT Phil Tuck Master of Wine and wine director of Hatch Mansfield

Despite being utterly baffled by the link between old style hoppy beer and the Sun and Planet name, I enjoyed this. The package is bright and clear. As it states on the label, it has a distinctly hoppy taste and is presumably aimed at diehard real ale fans. It is not too rich or alcoholic, nor is it too gassy which helps its drinkability. I applaud such innovation from this traditional brewer, but worry that the target market is unlikely to buy the beer from the sponsor's supermarkets, preferring instead to go down to the local pub and drink a similar beer in the appropriate atmosphere. It deserves to succeed. Rating out of 25 - 17

THE AGENCY Gary McCall Managing director of Poulter Partners

This is certainly one of the most impactful premium bottled ales, both in terms of bottle shape and labelling. The use of strong colours and bold text presents the branding and product information in a simple yet effective way, with the labelling having the look of a beer mat or font that you'd expect to see in a Victorian East End pub. The packaging gives few clues as to how the product will taste, however this adds to the intrigue as does the colour of the liquid. I have to question the use of Tesco branding because demonstrating an exclusive stockist status is completely incongruous with its 18th century origins. Rating out of 25 - 17

THE BUYER Carol Du Cann Senior buyer (beers, wines and spirits) at Alldays

A brightly coloured and interesting label, which does compliment the colour of the beer inside. The clear bottle added to its appeal. It did make me pick it up to find out more about it. It's a shame about Tesco appearing on the front, presumably this is temporary. The beer has a good nose, you can smell the malt and the hops. It is deceptively smooth and easy to drink considering it is 6% alcohol. Possibly too gassy for my taste, so probably wouldn't be able to drink vast amounts. Overall, an excellent beer, but it is yet another 500ml ale. How many more of these can the market stand? Rating out of 25 - 18

Total score out of 100 - 70
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Comment:Tasting panel: Sun and Planet steam ale. (Beers Wines Spirits).
Publication:Grocer
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 2, 2002
Words:537
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