This 86-Year-Old Beer From Edward VIII’s Coronation Could Be Yours

Around 2,000 bottles from the canceled ceremony are being auctioned off ahead of the crowning of King Charles

A bunch of old beer bottles
Greene King, a British brewer, is preparing to auction off 2,000 bottles of their Coronation Ale from 1937.
Getty Images/EyeEm

Ever wondered what it would be like to drink a beer from the 1930s? Now’s your chance. No, we’re not talking about a dusty case of Budweiser, but a Coronation Ale brewed with English hops and barley specifically for Edward VIII’s coronation in 1937. The coronation never ended up happening, which means the beer was never drunk, and now it’s going to be auctioned off on May 5 — the day before the coronation of King Charles. 

Greene King, a British brewer still in operation today, made 2,000 bottles of the specialty ale for Edward’s coronation, and they all went into storage after he abdicated the throne before his ceremony to marry Wallis Simpson, an American socialite. His brother George VI then became king. 

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In 2011, the bottles were discovered in Greene King’s cellars during renovation work, according to Food and Wine. And now, 86 years after the beer was supposed to be opened, Greene King will be auctioning off all the bottles made. The sale will raise money for the Prince’s Trust, a youth charity established by King Charles.

While Greene King said the beers were originally brewed at 12% ABV, they specified that these are only collector’s items and shouldn’t be ingested, according to The Telegraph. But if you’re absolutely thirsting after a Coronation Ale, the brewery also said it’s working on an updated 2023 version for the coronation of King Charles, which will be available to buy in pubs across the U.K. and online. 

So there are two opportunities to acquire a piece of royal history in beer form: a mid-1930s bottle sitting on a shelf for decoration, or a drinkable ale waiting for you right in the fridge. 


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