New products round-up

New drinks in time for Christmas

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

What are the latest drinks releases before Christmas 2022?

Related tags Beer Cask ale Craft beer Spirits Low to no Branding + marketing Cider Rtd

The latest new releases to the market include beers from Hook Norton, Theakston and Chevallier while spirits include Johnnie Walker and Elusive Expressions from Diageo.

Hook Norton beer in honour of dray horse

Hook Norton Brewery has brewed a 4% ABV beer called Command and Conquer to celebrate the life and legacy of Commander, their much-loved dray horse who passed away recently.  

The beer was brewed with the help of head coachman Nick Carter and groom Alyster.

Carter said: “Command and Conquer is a fitting tribute to a noble horse and friend who did exactly that. He was a loyal colleague of the brewery for the last four years of his life, a steady hand with a larger-than-life character. We’re thrilled to honour his legacy with this premium ale and keep the traditions of working horses going here at the Brewery forever.”

A donation from the sales of the beer will be made to The War Horse Memorial, which honours the service of animals in war and provides a lasting legacy for animals in need.

The beer will be available on the bar at the brewery and at selected Hook Norton pubs.

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Chevallier relaunches first dry-hopped lager

Chevallier Brewing Co is aiming to give punters something fresh, fruity and full of flavour with Suffolk Blonde 4.8% ABV by reintroducing what was the first dry-hopped lager in the UK after an absence of a decade.

Produced using Chevallier Heritage malted barley, The Suffolk Blonde dry-hopped lager is said to be a clean, golden lager with a tropical fragrant citrus aroma, and a clean and refreshing palate. The dry-hopping means that it is light in body, with deceptively assertive flavour from the amarillo.

“It is very exciting to be able to bring back the first dry hopped lager to the UK,” comments Henry Chevallier Guild, founder of The Chevallier Brewing Co, former owner of Aspall.

“We believe Suffolk Blonde will be a very popular choice for those looking for a session beer that is extra refreshing and packed with flavour,”

Suffold Blonde will be available on draught keg to the on-trade.

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Black Sheep stout launch wraps up 30th​ anniversary

Yorkshire’s own Black Sheep Brewery has wrapped up its 30th anniversary celebrations this month by launching a limited-edition, imperial stout called Thirty.

The 9% ABV gingerbread-infused imperial stout is built on dark, roasted malts, and is said to be delicately hopped with classic English Fuggles, Progress, Challenger and Goldings for a resinous, earthy hop character.

The beer has been aged in rum and Bourbon barrels for seven months before the introduction of gingerbread flavours, bringing gentle heat and spiced sweetness. The extended barrel-aging is claimed to add complex yeast characteristics, with bright acidic cherry and cola flavours, along with a delightful oaky vanilla finish.

Black Sheep Brewery chief executive Charlene Lyons said: “We’re delighted to offer beer lovers one final brew to toast the end of the 30th anniversary celebrations.

“Our brewers have pulled together something incredibly special and unique with Thirty. It’s incredibly complex and unlike any of our other beers and is sure to impress any beer lovers out there. It’s a beer to be savoured, perfect to enjoy after your Christmas dinner.”

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Two Tribes claims first AI-designed beer label

Beer brewer Two Tribes has claimed to have produced the first beer can label using artificial intelligence (AI) art.

The new design – which features AI-generated images such as an old lady with candy floss hair, a knitted hotdog, a lemon Elvis-esque quiff – has been created by art and beer lovers alike.

This newly designed label appears on Two Tribes’ best-selling Dream Factory Pale Ale and is the result of a competition hosted by the London-based brewer, in which they invited the public to submit AI-generated art for a chance to be featured on the can.

Beer lovers and AI early-adopters flocked to take part and the competition saw a staggering response with over 1,800 unique artworks submitted over a two-week period last month. The eight most impressive works of art made it onto the award-winning beer’s new label, with the overall winner receiving a year of free beer.

The winning submissions took inspiration from the dreamy aesthetic and flavours of the Dream Factory Pale Ale.

Two Tribes founder Justin Deighton said: “All our artwork and design is dreamt up in-house, so pushing creativity forwards has always been in our DNA. By working with our community, we’ve been able to innovate and collaborate which are two things foundational to our ethos as a brewer.”

The limited-edition Dream Factory AI-PA will be available to buy at Campfire, the Two Tribes taproom in King’s Cross, London.

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Non-alcoholic range from Citizen Spritz

Citizen Spritz has launched a range of innovative concentrated spritz mixes that it said is “deeply complex in flavour”.

Whether your tipple of choice is a zesty Aperol spritz, a minty fresh Mojito or a sweet and sharp Pornstar Martini, Citizen Spritz has an almost identical alcohol-free version to savour.

The four spritz recipes are Bitter Orange, Cool Lime, Passion Fruit and Pink Grapefruit. Each uses more than 40 natural ingredients and are said to provide the depth, complexity and taste profiles typically only found in alcoholic drinks.

The brainchild of successful food industry entrepreneurs Mark Gould and Mike Bagshaw, Citizen Spritz was born from the desire to moderate their own alcohol intake.

Gould said: “We tried many mocktails and non-alcohol spirits, but most were sickly sweet, with no complexity or depth of flavour and often overwhelmed by the taste of mixers. We thought that we couldn’t be the only ones looking for a satisfying ‘in-between’ drink, so we decided to create our own.”

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Cocktail cans from Lanique Spirit of Rose

Floral liqueur producer Lanique Spirit of Rose has launched two cocktail cans in time for Christmas.

Lanique Rose Fizz (250ml, 6% ABV) blends Lanique Spirit of Rose with premium sparkling wine while Lanique Rose Spritz (250ml, 5.5% ABV) combines floral and sweet rose flavours against a light tonic and a splash of dry sparkling wine.

The business recommends making the Lanique Rose Negroni, which is 25ml Lanique, 25ml gin, 25ml Campari, served over cubed ice and garnished with an orange twist.

Made from Attar of Rose, which Lanique said is the pure essence of rose, created by steam distilling thousands of handpicked rose petals which, gram for gram, is more valuable than gold. It is said to have aromas of rose, fresh raspberry and cherry, and hints of Turkish delight.

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Theakston steps into Christmas with ale relaunch

Yorkshire brewery T&R Theakston has relaunch Theakston Christmas Ale, a 4.7% ABV red ale brewed with a range of natural ingredients, including pale, crystal and dark malts, and a grist of traditional English hops including Target, Challenger and Progress.

Theakston said it has festive flavours of raisin, cinnamon, nutmeg and walnut, and pairs perfectly with Christmas dinner favourites, including strong cheese, British beef and Christmas pudding.

The beer has been brought back by popular demand, 10 years after it played a starring role in a Christmas episode of American crime drama NCIS: Los Angeles​. In the episode, operations manager Hetty Lange is seen knocking a tap into the end of a wooden cask, before saying: “This is Theakston’s Christmas Ale, flown all the way from Yorkshire in England, and brewed like it was in Charles Dickens’s time.”

The festive tipple is available in selected pubs until the end of December.

Theakston Brewery joint managing director Simon Theakston said: “Christmas is a special time and it deserves a special beer, which this most certainly is. Best enjoyed with family and friends in front of a roaring fire, Theakston Christmas Ale truly is the essence of Christmas. We’ve even heard it described as Christmas pudding in a glass.”

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Johnnie Walker unveils collab with Harris Tweed

Johnnie Walker Princes Street has launched a new whisky, complete with luxury packaging created in collaboration with legendary Scottish textile house, Harris Tweed Hebrides. 

Marking the first ‘Johnnie Walker Princes Street Collective’ – a series that brings together the world’s leading Scotch whisky with Scotland’s best creative forces to create unique and collectable whiskies – the Johnnie Walker x Harris Tweed collaboration features a “beautifully designed bottle” of the Johnnie Walker Limited Edition Princes Street Blend, accompanied by a bespoke Harris Tweed carry bag.

The whisky has been matured over the past year in hand-selected American oak casks in the Whisky Makers Cellar at Johnnie Walker Princes Street. The cellar, holding just 26 casks, is unique among bonded warehouses in Scotland, tucked beneath one of Edinburgh’s most famous streets.

Barbara Smith, managing director of Scotland Brand Homes at Diageo, said: “Our collaboration with Harris Tweed has been an exciting way to celebrate the first experimental bottling finished here in our cellar at Johnnie Walker Princes Street. The partnership brings together two iconic Scottish brands, and the resulting collection embodies our shared heritage and passion for blending – whether that’s liquid, or thread. We’re sure it’ll provide festive gift inspiration for whisky and style lovers alike.”

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Elusive Expressions whisky collection by Diageo

Drinks giant Diageo has unveiled its Elusive Expressions Special Releases Scotch Whisky Collection for the festive period.

Hand selected by master blender Dr Craig Wilson, these eight aged and finely finished whiskies deliver “rarity, flavour and fantasy”.

The whiskies include the dark, sweet and rich Mortlach, with gingery depth, unique to the Speyside Dufftown distillery; a lively sweet expression of The Singleton of Glen Ord, aged in refill American and European Oak, then double matured in wine-seasoned casks; Lagavulin, matured in a combination of virgin oak casks and our smokiest reserves; and Talisker 11-Year-Old, elemental yet also classic in character with maritime malty smokiness notes.

Completing the line-up are Clynelish with just a slight trace of waxiness and added sweetness and spiciness from a maturation in refill American Oak, then finished in PX/Oloroso seasoned casks; a rare expression of Cardhu, finished in Jamaican rum casks for a vibrant tropical sweetness; the creamy smooth Oban 10-Year-Old with richly sweet fruitiness, light smoke and salt notes; and, for the first time ever, the rich and exquisite Cameronbridge 26-Year-Old.

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Cranes could be the apple of your eye

Cranes Premium Apple Cider 4.8% ABV is claimed to be naturally crisp and crafted with the finest British apples, using 100% natural methods.

Cranes said it uses the finest British apples, picked and pressed on the same day to deliver a refreshing medium dry cider.

Cranes Premium Apple Cider is available in pubs and restaurants locally to Cranes, across East Anglia, with an RRP of £5 a pint and is best served chilled.

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