Shropshire brewery launches new 'Two Halves' beer inspired by Six Nations rugby

A Shropshire brewery has created a new beer to tie in with the launch of the Rugby Union Six Nations and hope it can help attract custom as hospitality businesses come out of the 'long hard winter'.

Dave Muir, head brewer, holding the beer badge
Dave Muir, head brewer, holding the beer badge

Stonehouse Brewery Limited, based at Weston, Oswestry has launched a new 4% pale ale called ‘Two Halves’ to honour this year's Six Nations, which starts next month.

The beer is so called, the brewery says, because legendary All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick often started his post-match interviews with the same sentence – “Well, it was a game of two halves...”

The brewery's co-founder Shane Parr said: "In the brewing and hospitality industry, the Six Nations always feels like the end of a long hard winter and the start of people returning to pubs.

"There have been a lot of pub closures but the local is an important part of our communities.

"If we don’t use them, we’ll lose them.

"From our point of view we are trying to do a few more different and interesting things to try and get people not just drinking our beer, but also in the pubs we supply.

"We are not a sports bar here but we have always put the Six Nations on – Shropshire is a good rugby area and with Wales just over the border, there's a good cross-over and plenty of people who do support the rugby. It's a big deal.

"We know the pub is always a great place to watch sport and so decided to launch this pale ale.

"We have taken the decision this year to do a few more seasonal beers," added Shane, who has an Australian mother and New Zealand father.

"So we came up with one – it's not wacky and wild or anything. It's just a good, 4%, nice, pale session beer with a good amount of hops and bitterness to it."

The brewery is located right next to the Cambrian Railway and was set up by Shane and wife Alison in 2007.

"We came up with the idea for the brewery and, having been in Australia, we moved back to the UK," he said.

"We wanted to give it a go so we spent the next few years developing the idea, researching it and sourcing equipment before getting it up and started.

"We have gone from nothing to making close to half-a-million litres of beer a year.

"Pre-Covid, we expanded the business and opened a bar and that's become as big a part of our business as selling beer to other pubs. We have an orchard at the back and, in the summer, we can have hundreds of people here.

"Like everyone, we are having to watch our costs at the moment but we will be okay and we are pretty positive with our outlook."

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