Comrade Bill Joins Ale4Sail Great Baltic Adventure!

London to St Petersburg: the most epic journey a drayman has made for 200 years!

Comrade Bill joins clipper crew to make epic sea journey to St Petersburg.

Comrade Bill has found his sea legs and is set to sail to St Petersburg. Bartrams Brewery is the latest brewer to sign up to make the five week epic sea voyage to St Petersburg in Russia.

Bartrams Comrade Bill – a bold and tasty stout - has joined the crew of the clipper Thermopylae recreating the heroic sea journey made by beers from England to Russia in the 18th century,
Brilliant Beer’s Tim O’Rourke is the man behind the Ale4Sail Great Baltic Adventure - - an ambitious attempt not just to recreate the once hazardous sea voyage but to promote British cask beers at festivals in Stockholm, Helsinki and CopenhagenThe plan is to take 12 specially brewed Imperial Russian Stouts, each produced by a different brewer, all the way to Saint Petersburg, where they will be judged in a beer festival on 18 June to find out which stout is fit for the Court of Catherine the Great.
The sea journey starts on 15 May from Greenwich and arrives in St Petersburg on 17 June.
Bartrams boss Marc Bartarm said: “Anything that raises the profile of British beer has got to be good.
“Imperial Russian Stout, as a style of beer, has its own interesting history and what better way to celebrate this than to reproduce the Baltic trading route. I think it would be safe to say that I am the smallest brewery involved but Comrade Bill has won eleven awards in the five years he has been around so he has his own profile ... and even has his own FaceBook page.”
Another brewer involved is St Austell Brewery.
Head Brewer Roger Ryman said he got involved in this exciting project, as it elegantly combines both history and pride in our national brewing heritage, and spirit of adventure.
Roger Ryman said: “Based as we are on the coast, the Cornish have always looked to the sea, and beyond, so voyages of endurance have always appealed.
“Indeed, I myself was recently involved in a rowing expedition to circum-navigate the whole Cornish coast line in a traditional Cornish Pilot Gig, whilst our Estate Director, Adam Luck has successfully sailed across the Atlantic Ocean.
“We also enjoy the challenge of brewing new, or rediscovering old styles of beer, so the challenge to brew an Imperial Russian Stout was one that I could not resist.”
St Austell Brewery has recently expanded distribution widely across the UK, and now has export markets in Denmark and Norway.
“Our beer is a regular feature on the bar at Charlie’s, an English themed cask ale pub in Copenhagen. Scandinavia is currently enjoying a renaissance of interest in quality beer, and is proving a fertile export market for adventurous UK breweries looking to expand their boundaries.
“I commend Tim O’Rourke and the team for their initiative and commitment in getting this project off the ground and becoming a reality. Clearly such a project that raises the profile of UK breed beer, both at home, and in potential export markets can only be considered positive for British brewers.”
London’s Meantime, based in Greenwich the start of the journey, is also joining the trip. Master Brewer Alastair Hook said: “Meantime are proud of London’s brewing heritage, and our link with all things beer and maritime only adds to the relevance of the trip.
“Given Britain has been typically arrogant and complacent about the way it is perceived as brewing nation this trip helps British brewers create new connections and friendships. It also gives us another opportunity to present world class beers with a great story - a story that can capture the imagination of beer drinker and heighten the pleasure of drinking the beer.”
Organiser Tim O’Rourke says he is looking for people to crew the Thermopylae Clipper which will undertake the journey. “We have chartered a former 60 foot round the world Clipper Thermopylae. This fantastic yacht has already circumnavigated the world four times in the Clipper Round the World Races so should see us safely to Saint Petersburg.
“The passage includes on board food and safety and wet weather equipment as well as a professional skipper and two professional watch leaders.
“The passage will take five weeks with stopovers in a major city every Saturday when we will be able to change crew. There will be stops at intermediate ports on the way round.”



Tim O'Rourke