Last year we were very pleased to be asked if we’d like to supply Marks & Spencer with two beers from our core range. Now it has to be said, between all of us at Arbor, we spend an absolute fortune on sandwiches in our local M&S, so this seemed like an opportunity to claw back a few quid. We sent them a few samples, they drank them, they liked them and, eventually, they selected Beech Blonde and Why Kick a Moo Cow to go on sale in the South West.
Fast forward a few months and they came back and asked if we’d be interested in making a beer exclusively for them, brewed solely with American hops. To cut a long story short, we submitted a tweaked version of an existing IPA, along with a new American Pale Ale, and waited to see if either would fit the bill. To our great surprise (slight horror) they selected both beers! We said, “um, ok then, why not?” before realising we had nowhere near enough hops on contract and, worse still, were roughly 12,000 litres short of fermentation capacity.
Thankfully, two new tanks magically appeared out of thin air in December 2015 (actually with a huge amount of understanding and hard work from Malrex Fabrications), so we solved one problem fairly swiftly.
(We must never speak about the things we had to do to get the hops).
So here we are. End of March and today sees the launch of two new bottle conditioned M&S beers: American Pale Ale 4.8% & American India Pale Ale 6%.