Adnams wins the beer battle

COMPETITION between Suffolk's brewing giants was as fierce as ever today after Adnams was selected to replace Greene King as beer suppliers to Ipswich Town.

COMPETITION between Suffolk's brewing giants was as fierce as ever today after Adnams was selected to replace Greene King as beer suppliers to Ipswich Town.

The duo, located on opposite flanks of the county, have long been recognised as two of the top names in the ale-making industry.

But in the latest round of Suffolk beer wars, it is Adnams - by far the smaller of the two brewers - which has triumphed.

Because from next season, it will be the Southwold-based company's finest tipple flowing from the pumps on a matchday at Portman Road.

Greene King's failure to renegotiate its contract with the Blues also brings to an end the naming rights of the former Churchman's Stand, which will now be known as the South Stand.

However, to many supporters, Town's bond with Greene King will live on.

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It was while the Blues wore the Bury St Edmunds-based brewer's name on their shirts that the club enjoyed promotion and a subsequent fifth placed Premier League finish.

The company was Town's main shirt sponsor during the halcyon days between 1996 and 2001. Even when TXU was chosen as the main sponsor during the ill-feted 2001/02 relegation season, Greene King continued its association by sponsoring the recently-opened 7,000-seater South Stand.

Evening Star columnist and Those Were The Days fanzine editor Phil Ham said: “Greene King holds good memories for Town fans.

“You only have to think of the iconic shirts Town wore during the promotion season and the first year in the Premier League. In fact, things went downhill as soon as we took the Greene King logo off the shirt.”

While lamenting Greene King's departure, Mr Ham welcomed the deal with Adnams.

“It's good for the club to support local companies, especially in this day and age. Beers are part of a club's identity. People associate going to a part of the country with quaffing a local ale.

“And fans care about what they are drinking in bars around the ground - they care that the quality is good and that they are not being ripped off.”

Speculation is already mounting as to whether the newly christened South Stand will attract corporate sponsorship.

Mr Ham said: “I think the club will look to bring a sponsor in.

“They have already spoken about renaming the North Stand but sports sponsorship is a tricky area at the moment.”

What's your view on the deal? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

The deal:

THIS agreement will see Adnams replace Greene King as holder of the “pouring rights” at the ground - but the new deal is viewed by both club and brewer as more than a supply arrangement.

Adnams and Town - which have a shared commitment to involvement with local communities - now aim to work closely together in a variety of ways.

Simon Clegg, chief executive of Ipswich Town, said: “This is very much a partnership.

“We see a lot of synergies between Adnams' values and our own and we look forward to working with them over the next five years.”

The pouring rights deal means that Adnams beers will be available throughout the Portman Road ground, including kiosks, bars and corporate hospitality areas.

Besides branding at pump, Adnams will have perimeter board advertising around the pitch and will also have a brand presence in the concourse areas within the ground.

Bury brewer's disappointment:

GREENE King bosses reacted with disappointment at Ipswich Town's decision to turn down the chance to extend their long-running 14-year sponsorship deal.

Managing director Justin Adams revealed the firm had written off bad debt during the Blues' financial troubles.

“We have had a great relationship with Ipswich Town Football Club for 14 years, taking on the sponsorship as they were going down, celebrating with them as they went up, sticking with them through the good times and the bad - including having to write off bad debt when they went into administration,” he said.

“We were keen to continue our relationship and support for the club and are disappointed that the new management team has turned down the chance to extend this positive connection - and all the activity we had planned to go with it.

“Investments in sponsorship have to stack up commercially as well as emotionally - and the increase in fees being requested meant that this was no longer the case.

“We'll still be raising our glasses to Town, wishing them success for the new season.

“We're convinced that true blue fans will continue to drink Suffolk's best pint - Greene King IPA.”

Battle of the beers:

Greene King

Established in 1799 in Bury St Edmunds

Greene King has become the largest British owned brewery in the UK

The brewery was established by Benjamin Greene, the great-grandfather of the writer Graham Greene.

The company also owns pubs and hotels including the Hungry Horse pub chain


Adnams Brewery was founded in 1872 when George and Ernest Adnams bought the Sole Bay Brewery in Southwold

The earliest recorded brewing on the site of Adnams was in 1396 by Johanna de Corby

The company produces cask ale and pasteurised bottled beers. Annual production is around 85,000 barrels

Adnams is also a major regional wine merchant and pub company

Your guide on what to order on a matchday:

Adnams Bitter:

A 3.7 per cent session bitter, hugely popular among hop lovers.


Adnams' premium bitter - but at a strong 4.7pc, might not be ideal for football spectators.


Introduced in 2004 as a summer seasonal, the 4.3pc brew became a regular beer from February 2006.

The Greene King years:

1996/97: After narrowly missing out on the play-offs a year earlier, Town make the top six, finishing fourth. An epic play-off battle with Sheffield United ensues, with the Blues losing out on the away goals rule after drawing 1-1 at Bramall Lane and 2-2 at Portman Road.

1997/98: George Burley's men again make the play-offs following a fifth-placed finish. But is more heartbreak as Charlton win 1-0 at Portman Road and 1-0 at The Valley.

1998/99: Ipswich miss out on automatic promotion on the final day of the season, with Bradford pipping the Blues to second place. A hat-trick of play-off misery is completed as sixth-placed Bolton beat Town on away goals.

1999:00: Promotion at last! Despite finishing third again - and despite missing out on second place on the final day, Town overcome old foes Bolton before beating Barnsley 4-2 in a memorable Wembley triumph.

2000/01: Against all odds, Burley's team defy the bookmakers by finishing fifth and qualifying for the UEFA Cup. Highlights include a Marcus Stewart-inspired victory over Liverpool at Anfield. Burley was voted Manager of the Year.