Wadworth, the Devizes-based traditional brewers, reports it has sold 1.5 m pints of its famous Swordfish ale since it was first brewed five years ago.
The landmark sales figure came time for the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Taranto on 11 November, the important Second World War battle in which the Fleet Air Arm’s iconic Fairey Swordfish aircraft badly damaged the Italian fleet while it was at anchor in Taranto harbour.
Swordfish is said to be a great example of how an ale brewed for a particular occasion can, by popular demand, become a core beer. Originally brewed following a request from the Fleet Air Arm who wanted an ale to mark their centenary celebrations in 2009, Swordfish was one of the first beers brewed with the addition of a spirit, and quickly became a favourite in pubs.
“When we were asked to brew a commemorative ale for this important occasion, we wanted to make sure it had real Naval connections,” said Paul Sullivan, Wadworth sales and marketing director. “We came up with the idea of incorporating a tot of Pusser’s Rum into the beer, which directly referenced the history of a ration of rum in the Navy. The process of blending beer with rum involved developing some pioneering techniques and our head brewer Brian Yorston was one of the first to achieve this.
“His hard work ensured that Swordfish remains what we believe to be the best spirit-blend beer on the market. It offers a really full-flavoured and satisfying pint that stands head and shoulders above many of the more recent additions to the genre which simply mix a spirit with a beer with little finesse.”
The beer was an instant hit in the pubs and is now Wadworth’s second best selling beer after 6X. It is available bottled and since 2013 has been listed in regional branches of Waitrose, Asda and Tesco, and is available nationally via Ocado.
“The success of Swordfish has been remarkable, and is a reassuring affirmation that brewing skill and quality ingredients still count when it comes to producing great beer,” said. “At Wadworth we believe that whilst moving with the times is vital to the success of our business, innovation is only relevant when it produces excellent beer, and to achieve this it must be applied with respect for the knowledge born of centuries of experience in the trade.”