Bottles of beer brewed 86 years ago for the coronation of Edward VIII, but which were left unopened upon the event’s cancellation, will go on sale next month.
Edward VIII ascended to the British throne in January 1936 following the death of his father, George V. But he abdicated in December of that year ahead of his coronation so that he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
The “Coronation Ale” made to celebrate his crowning was therefore never sold – and only discovered 75 years later when work was being carried out in 2011 in the cellars of the Greene King brewery in the southeastern English town of Bury St Edmunds.
Several crates of the beer will be auctioned by the pub company on May 5, the day before the coronation of King Charles III, commemorating the occasion, Greene King said in a press release Tuesday.
The proceeds from the sale will go to The Prince’s Trust charity, which was founded by the King to support young people from disadvantaged communities.
“It is absolutely fascinating that these beers have been lying in the cellar for 86 years, having originally been brewed to celebrate the Coronation of Edward VIII on 12th May 1937,” said Kate Williams, a royal historian and author working with Greene King to look into the history of the canceled coronation, in the release.
She added that there was “already doubt in his mind” when Edward succeeded his father in 1936 due to his relationship with Simpson.
“The elaborate Coronation preparations took over a year to arrange, but by the time the event came around he had already abdicated, leaving the ceremony, and these celebratory beers, redundant,” said Williams.
The beer at the time was 12% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) and was made using English hops and barley to give it a rich fruity flavor, according to the brewery.
Greene King has made a 2023 edition of the “Coronation Ale” that is 4% and has hints of citrus and tropical fruit and is available now in pubs across the UK.
“We’ve been brewing beer for over 200 years and creating special brews, such as the 1937 and the 2023 coronation ales, means we can capture moments in history to share with generations further down the line,” said Jack Palmer, head brewer at Greene King, in the release.
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