Batemans' rapid growth in the off-trade will be given a boost this year by an exclusive 36-week listing in Tesco for a new beer. The listing is its prize for winning the big brewer category in the multiple's spring Beer Challenge. The new brew, Harvest Zest, will go on sale in Tesco from May 13, along with SOS from Banks and Taylor which won the small brewery section of the competition. Both beers beat 75 contenders to win the coveted prize which, in the five years of the competition, has been the springboard for the successful development of a number of new brands. The inaugural winner, McEwan's No1 Champion Ale from Scottish Courage, is still going strong after its victory in 1997. The Badger Brewery has had two successes with Golden Champion and Golden Glory, while Young's has built a following for Acclaim, the winner in 1999. This year the two winners stand an even better chance because Tesco beer buyer Peter Cattell has promised to give the competition a higher level of support than it has had in the past. "The challenge has not been given the emphasis it deserves," he said. "We will reinvigorate our commitment behind these products. "They will be supported by more point of sale, promotional activity and on shelf displays which shout that these are Tesco Challenge winners." He said Tesco had 25% of the bottled ale market which is worth £70m and growing by 15% in volume. Stuart Bateman, wholesale managing director at Bateman's, said: "Winning this will give us the national profile we have been looking for and we hope to build on the distribution it gives us. "It also demonstrates that we are one of the serious players in the business and one of its innovators." The result will be more of a challenge for Banks and Turner which is a four-man micro brewery in Shefford, Bedforshire. Spokesman Mike Desquesnes said: "We are going into the unknown and we are definitely going to need to look at off-site bottling facilities to meet the expected demand." {{DRINKS }}