UK regional brewer Greene King has launched what it claims to be the first bottled English speciality beer.
 
The company said it was giving the beer, called Hop, a "contemporary" positioning, targeting "discerning thirty-something, urban males" who looking to trade up from premium lagers.
 
The name Hop is designed to sum up the beer's "understated, stylish English image", the brewer said. Greene King points out that the different types of hops used in production give beers individual flavour characteristics just as different grape varieties do for wines.
 
Greene King has used Tettnang Hops, grown in Washington State and Oregon, in the production of Hop, giving it, the brewer said, "a distinctive pale, golden colour, and crisp, dry finish".
 
"We talked to our target drinkers on their thoughts about the category. Our findings show there was a lack of modern, stylish English beers on the market to compete with the continental ones," said Greene King marketing director Fiona Hope. "In a year where market analysts AC Nielsen reported no growth in wine sales for the first time ever, we believe speciality beer sales will grow even further, making now a perfect time to launch Hop."
 
Hop, which has an alcohol level of 5% abv, is packaged in a slender 750ml bottle with purple labelling, and will be available through Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's.