OlD sPeCkleD hen Was only Meant to last a Week
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!