Student beer hits Waitrose shelves

A group of university students are celebrating after a beer they came up with as a business project has been selected for sale by Waitrose & Partners.

Muddy Wellies ale, created by students at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), is now on the shelves in three branches of the supermarket’s shops in Gloucestershire.

The store said it was attracted by both the taste and the fact that the drink is a social enterprise – meaning 10p from every bottle sold is returned to help launch RAU students’ new business ideas.

Muddy Wellies’ began in 2006 after students in the Entrepreneurs Society created a craft ale with a local brewer which was sold in the university’s campus bar in Cirencester. Now brewed by Friday Beer Company it has been available in a range of small outlets across the region in a deal with the local distributor Craft Drinks Co, before catching the eye of buyers at Waitrose.

Muddy Wellies Original Ale now appears on the shelves of Waitrose in Cheltenham, Cirencester and Stroud beside established brands like Peroni and Punk IPA. Marketed as a ‘drink with sole’, it is a traditional bitter ‘with a hint of Rye’.

Katy Duke, head of enterprise at the RAU said: “It’s been a big journey for Muddy Wellies, with each group of new students taking it a little further along. Seeing the beer taking pride of place in Waitrose a decade after students came up with the idea makes us all proud and excited about where this might go now.

“We try to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in our students as part of the teaching across all RAU courses, not just our business degrees.”

David Goddard, assistant buyer local and regional for Waitrose & Partners said: “Muddy Wellies is a stand-out, great tasting beer that also supports young entrepreneurs starting their own businesses, so we’re excited about launching Original Ale into three of our shops in Gloucestershire.

“This particular social enterprise is an ideal way for students to develop their skills and experience. The partnership with Friday Beer, with whom we have already been working with for the last year, has produced a product they can be proud of.”

This year the RAU became just the sixth university – and the only small, specialist –  to be made a Centre of Excellence by the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE).

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