100 years marked with beer

Farming bosses will be celebrating a centenary with the launch of its own tipple

The NFU is celebrating its centenary this year - and members will be able to toast the achievement with a glass of NFU beer, brewed especially to mark the occasion.

Farmer's Harvest has been brewed by the Warwickshire-based Purity Brewing Company and is on sale at more than 230 Tesco stores around the country as well as through the Beer Club of Britain. From March, it will also be on sale at 27 licensed Countrywide stores across the country.

The beer was the brainchild of Ken Sutherland, the NFU's director of finance and internal services, who got the idea when Purity provided a small bar for the official opening of the NFU's headquarters in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, in June 2006, and set about turning it into a reality.

"The hard work started in January 2007, with trying to organise things like finding a brewery, deciding what the beer would be like, and designing a label. The beer is being produced by a small, local, traditional business, based on a farm, using only British ingredients, and that ticks all the boxes for us," said Sutherland.

"We were mulling over all sorts of names. Of course, 'farmer' had to be in there somewhere and 'harvest' is a celebration of the fruits of the countryside, so the two seemed a perfect fit and sum up exactly what the beer is all about."

Farmer's Harvest is unique in being the first alcoholic beverage to carry the Red Tractor assurance mark.

Colin Smith, chairman of Assured Food Standards, the independent organisation that manages the scheme, said: "The Red Tractor signifies that the ale has been brewed in the UK, using malt and hops produced to high standards on the farm and checked by independent inspections. We hope other breweries will follow Purity's lead and commit to sourcing farm-assured British ingredients."

Paul Halsey, sales director at Purity Brewing Company, said: "We were delighted to link up with the NFU on this project. Farmer's Harvest is a full flavoured beer with an ABV of 4.8% and a great balance of sweetness and bitterness. Its fruity taste really does deliver a memorable finish to a truly superb ale, which is the ideal way to toast 100 years of the NFU."