The independent consumer guide to beer product dating.

Beer Dates in the United Kingdom

What two ideas are more inseparable than Beer and Britannia?
-- Revd. Sydney Smith (1771-1845)

First, let's dismiss one imitation Scottish brew: Grant's Scottish Ale is actually brewed in Washington, and doesn't have a product date anyway.

Now then. Here are my best shots at the dating systems used by a few British and Scottish breweries. (I've never encountered a beer from Wales or Northern Ireland. Don't they drink there?). Be warned that this page involved more guessing than any other page in And yet, I'm the best guess you've got.

As non-domestic breweries, all companies on this page are assumed to recommend a one year shelf life, until proven otherwise. Also note that dates on this page (unlike most in are calculated from Greenwich Mean Time.

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Bass Brewery
(Staffordshire, England)

Bass Ales have an oddly-formated (for example, 14 H 6) production code stamped on the bottle labels. I think that's a bottling date in a "DD M Y" format, which would make today 24 A 0, but I'm still not 100% sure.

Bass' manufacturer number is 83820.

Calidonian Brewery Company, Ltd.
(Edinburgh, Scotland)

Caledonian Ales don't have product dates. Their manufacturer number is 80793.

Griffin Breweries
(Cheswick, London, England)

Entry added 14 August 1998. Fuller's India Pale Ale has a "Best Before" date (in DD/MMM/YY format) on the bottom of the rear label.

Sheperd Neame
(Faversham, Kent, Great Britain)

Last time I looked at a Sheperd Neame bottle, they weren't putting dates on their bottles, but that was June 1995, so even I don't trust me for this one.

Sheapard Neame's U.S. product portfolio includes Master Brew Bitter, Bishops Finger, Best Bitter, Spitfire Premium Bitter, Original Porter, Hurlimann Stern Brau and Steinbock, Spitfire Bottle-Conditioned Premium Bitter, Shepard Neame India Pale Ale, Kingfisher Indian lager.

Traquair House Brewery
(Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, Scotland)

Entry added 22 July 2002. Located in "the oldest inhabited house in Scotland" (Who keeps track of statistics like that?), Traquair House Brewery currently produces three ales: Traquair Bear Ale, Traquair House Ale, and Traquair Jacobite Ale. Bottles of Bear Ale have a notched date on the left side of the label, indicating a month and year, identified as the "BEST BEFORE END" (of the month) date. Bottles currently being sold in the United States have dates about eight months into the future, giving it a longer shelf life than American beers. is the independent consumer guide to beer product dating. It is not owned, operated, affiliated with, or endorsed by any brewery or brewing company. In other words, if you want to send e-mail to a beer company, don't send it to me. © Michael Bauser