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Exploring Beer: A Journey Through Six Nations

Person holding bottle of Fursty Ferret and Rugby Ball 30th January 2024

As the Six Nations Rugby Championship kicks off, the Badger Brewery raises its glass to the rich brewing traditions of the nations competing on the field.

Let’s take a sip back in time and explore the beer history of each contender…

England’s Brewing History

A land rich in brewing heritage, England boasts a legacy that spans centuries. From the traditional ales crafted in rural regions to the iconic porter synonymous with urban life, English brewing epitomises craftsmanship and time-honoured tradition.

England’s Six Nations Stats:

    • England are the most successful team in Six Nations history, having won the championship a record 29 times, including 10 shared victories.
    • In recent years, England have enjoyed a period of dominance, winning the Six Nations in 2011, 2016, 2017 and 2020.
    • However, England’s performance has also fluctuated, with finishes outside the top three in 2018, 2021 and 2023.
    • England still hold the record for most points scored by any team in a season – 229 is the record to beat from 2001.
    • England also competes for the Calcutta Cup against Scotland and the Millennium Trophy against Ireland within the Six Nations. England have a strong record in both, having won the Calcutta Cup 71 times and the Millennium Trophy 20 times.

 

France’s Brewing History

Beyond its vineyards, France has a flourishing beer culture with roots stretching back to medieval times. French brewers embrace innovation while honouring their heritage, crafting everything from farmhouse saisons to elegant bières de garde.

France’s Six Nations Stats:

    • One of England’s biggest rivalries is with France, who have achieved 18 outright wins (8 shared). They are currently joint second with Wales, since winning their sixth title in 2022.
    • France have competed in 92 of 127 tournaments, since officially joining the tournament in 1910.
    • Despite their overall position, France had to wait 12 years to win the tournament, from 2010 until 2022.
    • The French team broke their record for Six Nations points scored in 2023, with 174 points.

 

Ireland’s Brewing History

Ireland’s beer history is as storied as its folklore. Home to the legendary stout, Irish brewing is synonymous with warmth and hospitality. Whether it’s a creamy pint of stout or a robust Irish red ale, each sip is a tribute to the Emerald Isle’s rich heritage.

Ireland’s Six Nations Stats:

    • With triumphs in 2009, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2023, Ireland has won a total of five Six Nations titles. They will enter the latest tournament as the reigning champions.
    • In 2023, Ireland secured their fourth Grand Slam, adding to their previous victories in 1948, 2009, and 2018.
    • Ireland’s winning streak extends beyond the Six Nations, currently holding a national record of 14 consecutive victories on home soil.

 

Italy’s Brewing History

In the land of la dolce vita, Italian brewers are making waves with their innovative approach to craft beer. Drawing inspiration from their culinary prowess, Italian breweries produce everything from aromatic wheat beers to bold, barrel-aged creations that push the boundaries of taste.

Italy’s Six Nations Stats:

    • Italy’s losing streak continued in 2023, marking an eight-year stint of sitting bottom of the championships.
    • The elusive Six Nations title remains Italy’s ultimate goal since joining the competition in 2000 – to-date, the team have not won any Six Nations Championship titles.
    • As Italy made their debut at the 2020 Six Nations, they defied all odds with a resounding victory over Scotland (in Rome). The hero of the day was Diego Dominguez, who collected 29 points.

 

Scotland’s Brewing History

From the misty Highlands to the bustling streets of Edinburgh, Scotland’s brewing tradition is as rugged and diverse as its landscape. Scotch ales, wee heavies, and peaty porters showcase the country’s penchant for bold flavours and uncompromising quality.

Scotland’s Six Nations Stats:

    • Scotland etched their name in rugby history when they achieved their first Grand Slam in 1925, dominating all matches in the Five Nations Championship (predecessor to the Six Nations). The team then went on to claim two more Grand Slams in 1984 and 1990, but are yet to achieve a Six Nations Grand Slam.
    • While they claimed glory in the final year of the Five Nations (1999), the Scottish team have not secured a Six Nations win since the switch in 2020.
    • They have however secured a third-place position four times, most recently in 2023 for the first time in five years.
    • The historic rivalry with England (who lead overall) for the Calcutta Cup has seen Scotland emerge victorious 43 times since its inception in 1879.

 

Wales’ Brewing History

Nestled between mountains and sea, Wales boasts a proud brewing heritage that’s as vibrant as its culture. Welsh brewers draw inspiration from their surroundings, crafting beers that reflect the rugged beauty and indomitable spirit of the land.

Wales’ Six Nations Stats:

    • Since the Six Nations formed in 2000, Wales have become a powerhouse, lifting the trophy 6 times (in 2005, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2019 and 2021). This impressive feat adds to their rich rugby history, dating back to the Home Nations Championship in 1883.
    • England tops the charts with 13 (all-time) Grand Slams, but Wales remains their closest competitor, having secured 12 impressive victories since 1908.
    • While England leads the pack with 26 ‘Triple Crown’ victories, Wales holds a strong second place with a remarkable 22 triumphs since the competition’s inception in 1883. This prestigious award celebrates teams who conquer all three Home Nations.
    • The 1970s witnessed Wales’ golden age in the competition, with three Grand Slams (1971, 1976, 1978), two outright titles (1975, 1979), and two shared victories (1970, 1973)

 

Pubs Showing the Six Nations

 

As fans gather to cheer on their teams, the Badger Brewery invites everyone to raise a glass to the spirit of camaraderie and competition that unites us all. Here’s to the Six Nations Rugby Championship and the timeless art of brewing that brings us together!

 

Looking to catch a rugby match at the pub with a pint in hand? Look no further! Several of our Hall and Woodhouse pubs will be airing this season’s games, so why not join us for a refreshing pint of Badger or Outland at one of these fantastic locations:

 

 

What to expect? A memorable rugby viewing experience with great company and delicious brews!

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