Finnish shipwreck beer set to be copied, introduced into market

Five bottles of beer that had been well preserved for 170 years in a shipwreck will be reproduced and introduced to the market, the local government of Finnish autonomous province of Aland said recently.

One of the five bottles of beer discovered in 2010 in a shipwreck near the Aland archipelago. (Photo:

The bottles of beer, believed one of the oldest existing beers, were salvaged from a 19th century shipwreck, discovered in the summer of 2010 near the Aland archipelago. The bottles had been preserved on the seabed at a depth of 50 meters.

The Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT was commissioned by the government of Aland to make technical analysis of the beer. The researchers found three kinds of dead yeast cells, as well as four kinds of living Lactic acid bacteria in the beer, which proved that the old beer was fermented by yeast and lactic acid bacteria.

Based on the research, a new version of the old beer will be created by the Stallhagen brewery of Aland, and it is expected to go on sale in the summer of 2014.

“We are extremely honored and enthusiastic to have been given the opportunity to reproduce one of the world’s oldest beers. There is an increasing global demand for special ales and we believe that recreating this historic beer will be of great interest to beer drinkers worldwide”, says Jan Wennstrom, the CEO of Stallhagen.

According to the provincial government, the current possessor of the beer, the financial surplus generated by the sale will go to charitable causes.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Stallhagen,” said Johan Ehn, Minister for Culture of the Aland Government. The surplus will go to marine archaeological work and environmental measures for improving the quality of aquatic environment, Ehn added.

In July 2010, some divers found more than 70 bottles of champagne from an ancient shipwreck remains near the sea of Aland archipelago. The local government then spent 85,000 euros on the salvage work, and a total of 145 bottles of champagne and five bottles of beer were lift from the wreckage.

The low temperature and the darkness inside the wreck had provided optimal storage conditions, and the pressure inside the bottles had prevented the salt water from sipping in through the cork. The champagne and beer therefore had been well preserved.

The shipwreck found in the 55-meter deep seabed was probably a ship dispatched by the French king Louis XVI, to transport gifts to Russian imperial household in the beginning of the 19th century.

Source: Xinhua

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