Arctic Ale By The Allsopp – $503,300

Written by on April 28, 2023

The title of the most expensive beer in the world goes to an over 140 year old bottle of beer that belonged to the Arctic Expedition of 1875 led by Sir George Nares.

A few dozen bottles of the Allsopp Arctic Ale were found in a garage in Gobowen, Shropshire, England, and one of them was sold at an auction for an unbeliveable $503,300.

The story begins on June 21 when eBay user ‘collectordan’ from Tulsa, Oklahoma purchased a full bottle of Allsopp’s Arctic Ale on eBay for $304 plus $19.95 shipping from a seller in Massachusetts.

It came with an old laminated hand-written note signed by Percy G. Bolster, a Boston attorney, stating that he had received the bottle in 1919 and it had been specially brewed in 1852 for a polar expedition.

The buyer deduced it was part of the cache of provisions taken to the Arctic in 1852 by Sir Edward Belcher during a fruitless search for Sir John Franklin and his crew, who left London for the Canadian Arctic in 1845 to find the Northwest Passage.

Belcher had asked London brewer Samuel Allsopp, notable for brewing some of the first India Pale Ales in England for export to the colonies, to bottle a special batch for the sub-zero trip and later wrote that Allsopp’s ale was “a valuable antiscorbutic” that defended against scurvy.

The high alcohol content of close to 10 per cent kept it from freezing.

The bottle was relisted on eBay on August 2. Museum Quality Allsopp’s Arctic Ale 1852 Sealed/Full – Rarest Historic Beer in the World. Amazing History.

There were lots of exclamation marks, a lengthy description of Captain Belcher and the quest to find Franklin and collectordan somehow determined the bottle merited a ‘Buy It Now’ price of $150,000 (shipping was free).

However, when bidding started at $1, the option to buy at such a give-away sum disappeared and a long ten days began to unfold.

After two days it was showing a small profit at $360. On day six it had broken the $2000 barrier. On day seven 23 bidders joined the fray and dropped $78,000. By August 11, with over 74,000 watching the action, we had the last of the 157 bids – $503,300.

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