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The most expensive beer in the world is $503,300

Joe Harker

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The most expensive beer in the world is $503,300

Someone once spent $503,300 on a bottle of beer, making it the world's most expensive ale, and there's an incredible story behind it.

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For those of you wondering what a $503,300 (almost £425,000 in today's money) bottle of beer tastes like and where to buy it, you sadly can't just go to some place in the world and track it down.

This incredibly expensive tipple is worth so much because it was a historical artefact, not because it was the greatest beer ever made on the planet, though it did have some special properties.

Then again, the price of a pint doesn't always guarantee quality and some of the most expensive beer in the world is so expensive because it was bought by mistake.

The bottle of Allsopp's Arctic Ale, which sold for $503,300. Credit: Antiques Trade Gazette
The bottle of Allsopp's Arctic Ale, which sold for $503,300. Credit: Antiques Trade Gazette

According to Antiques Trade, the tale of this incredibly expensive beer begins on eBay, where back in 2007 an Oklahoma buyer picked up a bottle of Allsopp's Arctic Ale for $304, plus a shipping fee of $19.95, from a Massachusetts seller.

Already one of the most expensive beers ever considering it cost over $300 for a bottle, the glass of Allsopp's cost so much because it had historical significance.

See, back in 1845, there was a famously disastrous sea voyage to chart the undiscovered parts of the Northwest Passage, a route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the Arctic Sea.

HMS Erebus and HMS Terror set out on this voyage of discovery but the ships never returned as their sailors were forced to abandon them and tried to make it back to civilisation on foot.

No evidence of any survivors has ever been found.

Where the beer comes in is from the rescue expeditions sent out to discover the possible fates of the Erebus, Terror and their crews.

The beer was specially brewed for rescue expeditions looking for HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Credit: The Granger Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
The beer was specially brewed for rescue expeditions looking for HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Credit: The Granger Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Allsopps brewery was asked by the British government to make an ale suitable for the freezing cold Arctic climate and a number of crates of Allsopp's Arctic Ale were included as supplies on naval missions to the Arctic.

Described by Allsopps as a 'strong, sweet, north of 11% ABV' drink, the beer was said not to suffer at all in freezing temperatures.

The expensive bottle our eBay trader bought was one of the earliest batches of the beer which set sail in 1852, though the mighty arctic brew failed to help the mission reach a successful outcome.

This beer had come with a laminated message attesting that it had been acquired by Boston lawyer Percy G Bolster in 1919, seemingly proving it as an authentic bit of booze which had survived for over 150 years.

The eBay trader then went on to sell it himself, not at anywhere near the price of $304 they'd bought it for but instead asked for a 'buy it now' price of $150,000.

However, that option disappeared as bidding on the bottle of beer began and the price of the bids climbed higher and higher until, after 157 bids, someone offered to pay $503,300 for the antique ale.

Whether the buyer ever decided to crack it open and have a sip is unknown, but if you'd spent $503,300 on a bottle of beer you would, wouldn't you?

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: UK News, Food And Drink, Ebay

Joe Harker
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