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Beer From Edward VIII’s Coronation Could Be Yours

Updated: May 12, 2023

Around 2,000 bottles from the canceled ceremony in 1937 are being auctioned off ahead of the crowning of King Charles III.

Beer from 1937 discovered in brewery cellar
Credit: Greene King

Ever wondered what it would be like to drink a beer from the 1930s? Now’s your chance. No, we’re not talking about a dusty case of Budweiser, but a Coronation Ale brewed with English hops and barley specifically for Edward VIII’s coronation in 1937. Of course, the coronation never happened, which means the beer was never drunk, and now it’s going to be auctioned off on 5 May - the day before King Charles' coronation.

Greene King, a British brewer still in operation today, made 2,000 bottles of the specialty ale for Edward’s coronation, and they all went into storage after he abdicated the throne in order to be able to marry American socialite (and, shock horror, divorcee) Wallis Simpson. His younger brother George VI then became king instead.

In 2011, the bottles were discovered in Greene King’s cellars during renovation work, according to Food and Wine. And now, 86 years after the beer was supposed to be opened, Greene King will be auctioning off all the bottles made. The sale will raise money for the Prince’s Trust, a youth charity established by King Charles.

While Greene King said the beers were originally brewed at 12% ABV, they specified that these are only collector’s items and shouldn’t be drunk, according to The Telegraph. But if you’re absolutely thirsting after a Coronation Ale, the brewery has created an updated 2023 version for the coronation of King Charles (now available online) and in pubs across the U.K.

So there are two opportunities to acquire a piece of royal history in beer form: a mid-1930s bottle sitting on a shelf for decoration, or a drinkable ale waiting in your fridge.

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