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Vintage Bottled Brew Sells for £3K

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Still haven’t gotten around to this year’s spring cleaning? Well, be sure to keep an eye out for old booze bottles next time you clean out your garage.

A 140-year-old bottle of Allsopp’s Arctic Ale found in a garage in Shropshire, England, sold for over £3,000—roughly $5,000—at auction last week. The unopened bottle, which was expected to sell for a more modest sum of £400 to £600, accompanied British explorer Sir George Nares on an arctic expedition to the North Pole in 1875.


Although Nares didn’t make it to the North Pole (or open Allsopp’s Arctic Ale), he did earn the distinction of being the first explorer to map the area’s coastlines and navigate ships through Greenland and Ellesmere Island. Allsopp’s bottled brew made it to the Arctic Circle and back with Nares’ crew and is considered to be more than a mere collector’s item—according to auctioneer Aaron Dean it’s a “great historical object.”

Wondering what the beer in this vintage bottle tastes like? Even the winning bidder, a private collector in Scotland, may never know. Part of this rare item’s appeal is that the seal has remained intact for so many years and miles. However, research from beer writer Roger Protz suggests that it’s a malty brew with a bittersweet finish.

Despite it’s epic journey and new home, this beer seems destined to stay bottled up. You can learn more about this Arctic Ale’s origins at the-saleroom.com.

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