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Launch of Athletes’ Ale

We’re celebrating the running start to sales made by our draught WPB Athletes’ Ale. We have dispatched the first consignment to the Wetherspoon pub group which will sell the beer across Britain in April and May.

Wood’s first brewed the 4.2% ABV bitter last year to commemorate William Penny Brookes, the founder of the Much Wenlock Olympian Society and the man widely accredited with inspiring the modern Olympic movement.

Athletes’ Ale has a great taste and Wetherspoon’s thought it was a topical theme in the year of the Olympic Games. Their order for draught beer in barrels has provided a big boost to sales so we’re delighted.

It means Athletes’ Ale will be tasted over a far wider area than we would normally distribute to, and we will also be sending it to the Strangers’ Bar at the House of Commons later in the year. Athletes’ Ale will also continue to be available through free houses and other outlets supplied locally by Wood’s in Shropshire and ajoining counties.

Help the Olympians by drinking Woods!

Wood’s newest beer will raise funds for the Wenlock Olympian Society, the body which inspired the modern Olympic movement and which was founded by Much Wenlock resident Dr William Penny Brookes.

W•P•B Athletes’ Ale is on sale now as both a draught and a bottled bitter and we are donating 5p for every pint or bottle sold. The beer revives our Shropshire Heroes and Legends series that at the turn of the century celebrated famous people with county roots, including evolution theorist Charles Darwin, the colonialist Clive of India and war poet Wilfred Owen.

The 4.2% ABV bitter will be available over the next 12 months at selected free houses and off-licences throughout Shropshire, the West Midlands and Mid Wales.

“With the Olympic Games on the horizon, we thought it was timely to extend the Heroes and Legends series by producing a beer to celebrate Dr Brookes’ achievements. We’re hoping it will raise a good amount for the Olympian Society,” said Edward Wood. Over the years Wood’s drinkers have raised thousands of pounds for local causes by drinking ‘donation’ beers.

Simon MacVicker, Vice-Chairman of the Olympian Society and a keen triathlete said:  “We were delighted when Wood’s suggested that a special beer might help the Olympian Games, and W•P•B Athletes’ Ale is the result.”

Background to Brookes and the Olympians

Edward Wood (right) and Wenlock Olympian Society vice-chairman Simon MacVicker (left) launch Athletes’ Ale at the William Penny Brookes memorial in Much Wenlock, Shropshire.

Born in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, in 1809, Brookes was the man behind the Wenlock Olympian Games – the annual event which was started in 1850 and which provided the inspiration for the modern day Olympic Games. The modern Olympics were first staged in Athens in 1896 after their organiser, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was invited by Brookes to witness the Wenlock games – still staged to this day by the Olympian Society. Coubertin subsequently transferred the format to a larger, grander occasion.

In line with Brookes’ wishes, the first Wenlock Olympian Games were open to ‘every grade of man’. Athletic events were run alongside traditional games such as quoits, football and cricket. Brookes later helped form the National Olympian Association, which organised sports meetings in various cities across England. The spectacular opening ceremonies of recent Olympic Games also have their roots in the colourful opening procession of the annual Wenlock Games.

So strong is the Wenlock link with the modern Olympics that in 1994, the then president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, visited the town to lay a wreath at Brookes’ grave. Sadly, Brookes never saw the first modern world Olympic Games. He died a few months before they took place.

“That’s a poignant fact, but we believe the fact that the Wenlock Olympian Games is still thriving is a cause for celebration,” said Edward Wood, who was born in Much Wenlock and has notched several notable athletic achievements himself, including cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats and completing the London Marathon three times.