Mud slingin'

The Beer52 team drops in on Tough Mudder, with an armful of cold, hoppy rewards


At once a masochist’s wet dream and an action-packed day out for people of all ages and athletic abilities, Tough Mudder runs 130 events across 10 countries every year, all in the name of pushing participants beyond their mental and physical comfort zones. The infamous event started out in 2009, and since then, a growing number of extreme obstacles have challenged six million Mudders ranging in ages from five to 82. 

Tough Mudder’s 5, 10 and 15km courses require participants to grit their teeth through pools of ice, get down and dirty in miles of mud, and accept a helping hand up heights too high to climb alone. Some kinder, but equally messy challenges feature on the Lidle Mudder course, which is designed for Mudders aged 5-12; so don’t worry, no youngsters have been chucked, dunked or shocked in the making of this event. 

Whether flying solo or attending as part of a team, completing the course is a feat of strength, stamina, bravery, and belief in the ability of a challenge to change the course of everyday life. With a proclivity for adventure, Beer52’s own craft beer champions, Grant Mcinroy, Fraser Manson and Douglas Kellock, swapped headsets for headbands and set off for the Scottish Borders to man Beer52’s camp at the Drumlanrig Castle finish line. Between mopping brows, and wiping eyes, the trio completed a marathon of their own, handing out over 6,000 free beers from Fierce, BRULO, Brewgooder and Magic Rock, to 5,000 Mudders. 

“Grant basically did Tough Mudder that day,” says Fraser of his colleague, who set out to take some photos of Mudders overcoming the obstacle Beer52 was proud to sponsor this year. Little did he know he’d have to hitch a 20-minute ride off a Landrover to reach the obstacle, and walk most of the way back alongside steamy, sweaty Mudders, some of whom were on their second, third and fourth lap of the course. It would seem that getting out on the field only heightened the team’s respect for those participating. 

“We had a couple in their late seventies approach the stand for a couple of beers once they’d finished the event, and they were wearing all the headbands they’d collected from completing something like fifty Tough Mudders,” Grant says. “Someone else there had just finished their 150th. We were just standing around handing out free beer all day, and we were knackered. I don’t know how people do it.”

It seems that people’s willingness to accept a challenge extended to their taste buds. The Beer52 stand was well stocked with lagers, two varieties of pale ale, an IPA, and an alcohol-free option, but people were very receptive to some gentle pushback on their first choice of style, and the challenge to try something new. 

“Our first question was always to ask people what they usually drink,” says Fraser. “For most people that’s lager, so from there we could say, ‘Ok, well we’ve got lager, but we also have this’ or ‘Have you ever tried a pale ale?’. We obviously also had some hard-hitting beers for people who know they like something strong or hazy, but it was great to see people giving new flavours a chance, and walking away from the interaction saying ‘that’s actually pretty good’.”

Grant and Fraser also said it was incredibly rewarding to get some face-to-face time with folk who were new to craft beer, so they could talk them through the flavours they were tasting in real time, and give a little background on the breweries that produced them. Even when they’d run out of beers late on the Sunday, people were still approaching the stand just to chat about beer, or their experience of membership. “That was just the whole nature of the event, to be honest,” says Fraser. “It was the perfect crowd of people for what we do, and it was great to be able to engage with folk on that level.”

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