It’s not every day that you can pick up a bottle of beer to see your very own words staring right back at you from the label. But that’s now a very real possibility for three real ale-loving members, as the new beers they tasted and fed back on hit Co-op shelves this week.

The members joined in to share some thoughts on three brand new Co-op beers back in January as our beer buying team looked to members for some beautiful bottle blurb – try saying that after a beer or two.

Over 70 members tasted the three new, ‘not-yet-on-the-shelves’ Co-op beers and fed back to us their comments and ratings through Join In. Our beer buying team looked at all the contributions and after much deliberation chose the following three comments.

Michael Gibbons, a Co-op member from Luton struck gold with the tasting notes for the Golden Ale.

Golden Ale

Sam Dineley, a Co-op member from Bristol scribed the tasting notes for Triple Hop.

Triple Hop

And the IPA inspiration came from Tom Packman, a Co-op member from Essex.


We invited the members who’d penned the chosen notes to come along to Frederick Robinson’s Brewery in Stockport, where we make and bottle the ales to see the Triple Hop bottles coming off the line for the very first time. Here they enjoyed a brewery tour, and a little sampling.

IMG_2225 2

Here’s what else we learned

  • First off….hands up. We didn’t get the packaging for our beers quite right this time, so some arrived broken by the time they reached our members. We said sorry and have learnt our lesson.
  • Members were thrilled to be asked to taste and give their thoughts on our new ales and took to Twitter to share what they were doing – #coopjoinin.
  • Over 91% of those who received their beers intact came up with some wording.
  • Of the three new beers – an IPA, Golden Ale and Triple Hop, the 5.5% ABV Triple Hop received the biggest thumbs up from members, who gave it a solid 3.8 out of 5.
  • 71% of members who tried it said they’d buy the Triple Hop.
  • Members had very different ideas about what types of food the ales would compliment; the IPA being matched variously with meat casseroles, curry, summer foods and salads and BBQ – an ale for all seasons it would appear.
  • Our members are an eloquent bunch. Across the three beers they offered up some wonderful descriptors, that made the job of choosing which ones to carry on the bottles very difficult.

This is the first time member comments have appeared on one of our products, although we have been looking at how they can be included on in-store promotion material, such as our wine trial in Holmfirth.

The Co-op ales are on sale in our Co-op Food stores from 13 March with our members’ words shouting loud and proud from the label.

For the facts about alcohol

Richard Dennett
Senior Buyer for Beers, Ciders and Spirits

Join the conversation! 10 Comments

  1. A great idea but such a shame this persists in promoting craft ale as the ‘blokey’ drink. Plenty of discerning, palate-educated, articulate women ale drinkers in your membership. When will we get a better profile?


    • You’re right Eileen, anyone can enjoy Ale! We had lots of different types of people join in on the long road it took to get to this place, we hosted online discussions and surveys with lots of members before these gents won the opportunity to pen these labels. ^Jordan


  2. Great use of Member skills.
    Don’t forget the importance of local sourcing-When are We going to see Vale of Evesham Asparagus? Sick of the Spanish stuff always appearing at Worcestershire Co-op Shops!!


    • Hi Roger – long time no see! Thanks for the feedback re local – we’ve already started with ale and look out on the membership website soon as we move onto asking members for their favourite local snacks producers and then wider drinks providers. Hopefully the start of a long discussion with members about what they would like us to stock locally.


  3. What happenefd to the Cp Goldminer Beer – I loved this brew and haven’t been able to get it for obver a year.


  4. These Beers look really interesting and I can`t wait to see them in my local Hawley Rd Dartford Co-op Store and give them all a try.


  5. we should NOT be stocking Robinsons as its against COOP policy as the coop supports the comunitys…. Robinsons are closing 90% of there pubs which were community pubs so why we supporting a company that’s killing community pubs …… please heads of the coop use your BRAINS …..


  6. I see no reason why Robinsons should be expected to keep a loss-making pub open. The company is trying to make a profit. All breweries and pubcos are closing houses, and the only way to keep the open is to use the establishment instead of moaning about a rarely-used pub.

    …and the Robinsons tied estate has not declined by 90% nor anywhere near.


  7. Take it from me having been privileged to have my comments of the IPA featured by Co-op, all of these three beers are absolute top quality. I have personally been honoured to visit the Robinsons Brewery to observe their creation. Martyn Weeks (Head Brewer) and his team at Robinsons operate, in my opinion one of the very finest breweries in this great country and the world too for that matter.

    They are all superb though I am very glad my names on the IPA as this is the true gem of the bunch due to its versatility to go with different foods. The other two are to special beers though slightly more niche in nature.

    Anyone who has not yet tried all the Robinsons beers should hunt them down where you can. ‘Old Tom’ Ale is one of the world best brews and is available at Tesco for 4 for £6! Or £1.70 each at Sainsburys!


  8. I’d be really interested to know who the artist was who designed the new labels.



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