OlD sPeCkleD hen Was only Meant to last a Week

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - 7 Brilliant Stories -

Beer-drinkers among you may be familiar with the links be­tween a cer­tain re­fresh­ing bev­er­age and Abing­don’s sports car busi­ness, but the tie-up was only ever meant as a one­off for seven days of MG cel­e­bra­tions.

The man­u­fac­turer held a week of events in Septem­ber 1979 to com­mem­o­rate half a cen­tury of Abing­don’s fully-fledged car man­u­fac­tur­ing, and asked town brew­ery Mor­land & Co to come up with a spe­cial brew to mark the oc­ca­sion.

In its Golden Ju­bilee book­let, MG high­lighted how the beer, car­ry­ing its oc­tag­o­nal logo, was be­ing brewed a short dis­tance from the fac­tory, and was named in hon­our of 1929’s MG 14/40 fac­tory demon­stra­tion car.

Only a few hun­dred bot­tles were meant to be sold to fac­tory work­ers and their fam­i­lies. How­ever, it proved so pop­u­lar that Mor­land re­tained it as part of its range, pro­duc­ing it right up un­til the point when the brew­ery was bought out by Greene King in 2000. It’s still part of the com­pany’s range of beers to­day, and while the MG brand­ing has long dis­ap­peared, Old Speckled Hen is still sold with oc­tag­o­nal lo­gos on the bot­tles, in a nod to its MG links. It has rock roy­alty ap­proval, too. When former AC/DC singer Brian John­son vis­ited the club to film for the TV se­ries Cars That Rock, he re­united the Mor­land tip­ple with the MG that in­spired it. It wasn’t just the beer where Old Speckled Hen played a part in MG’s golden ju­bilee cel­e­bra­tions. Among the fes­tiv­i­ties was a ju­bilee foot­ball match be­tween the man­u­fac­turer’s so­cial and ath­letic club and Abing­don Town FC. The car­maker’s side lost, mean­ing it missed out on the chance to be the first (and only) MG team to lift the cov­eted prize – the Old Speckled Hen Shield!

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