Business Grows As Barley Blooms For

Pendle Witch Brewer In Move For Beer ‘Terroir’

Lancashire brewer Moorhouse’s is toasting record sales and early success for an initiative to revive the cultivation of Britain’s favourite ‘brewing barley’  the North West.


The internationally acclaimed brewer is encouraging farmers to grow the traditional Maris Otter barley in the region as it seeks to secure crucial sustainable supplies for the future of its new £4.5m brewery.


While hailing the project as central to a strategy of ‘growth through quality and provenance’, the North West’s newest regional brewery reported a record turnover of £5m for last year. It also announced a sales surge of eight per cent in the first six months of the current trading year – with almost 2.6m pints sold.


Maris Otter barley variety was developed specifically as malting barley for British cask-conditioned ale in the 1950s and became a mainstay of the industry with the cask ale revival. However, following bad harvests and difficulties with seed, many arable farmers shunned the variety in favour of more easily cultivated, higher yield crops.


But now the Moorhouse’s project has convinced a clutch of arable farmers in the St Helens and Preston areas to revive the variety – including Ian Bennett of the 700 acre Home Farm, Rainhill, and father and son team Tom and Olly Harrison who farm 1000 acres at Water Lane Farm, Prescott.*See footnotes.


They are now preparing to harvest the first crop, which the fast growing Burnley brewer will take as part of some 500 tonnes of malted barley a year now required to brew the famous ‘Pendle Witches’ ales.


MD David Grant said: “It’s still a very tough market as pubs close and the number of micro-brewers grows unabated. Some regional brewers have contracted, but we continue to see sales rise as we win new business nationally. We have confidence in our strategy to push forward through quality and provenance– not price discounting.


“Our barley initiative is at the heart of that. We aim to build a ‘terroir’ similar to that for French wines. We want publicans to know they can have cask ales with real provenance from Burnley – ales brewed in Lancashire from the area’s best  malt. By ensuring a market we are helping it to survive, for our own sustainable future and for the industry.”

Muntons is a major national supplier of malted barley to the brewing industry. Managing director Guy Newsam said: “Moorhouse’s has taken a leading role in persuading northern farmers to grow more Maris Otter malting barley.

“This has been achieved through hosting structured visits at the brewery, supported by Isaac Poad the Grain Merchant and ourselves as maltsters, aimed at building a sustainable Maris Otter supply chain with local provenance. This has stimulated interest from the farmers with a number committing to grow Maris Otter for the brewery on potentially a long term basis.”


No Comments

Ten facts about new Pubs Minister Kris Hopkins

Ten facts about new Pubs Minister Kris Hopkins

By James Wallin, 17-Jul-2014

Controversial remarks, Nadine Dorries and championing beer all feature in our brief guide to the new community pubs minster, Kris Hopkins.


No Comments

Dartmoor Brewery Joins Export Market As Its Craft Beers Head To China

Dartmoor Brewery, the highest brewery in England, has struck its first deal in the export market after signing a deal with a Chinese wholesaling business to distribute two of their most popular beers in China.

Dartmoor Brewery was approached by the owner of the wholesaling business after he had tasted and enjoyed one of the brewery’s beers on a recent trip to the UK.

The first shipment of 800 bottled beers from Dartmoor Brewery including the award winning Jail Ale and Legend, will be sent to China next month.

Beer sales have soared in China in recent years and as Karen Lunney, who is responsible for developing exports at Dartmoor Brewery, commented the market for real ale in China is still relatively new and offers considerable potential to Dartmoor Brewery:  “Beer is already a hugely popular drink in China, in fact it’s the world’s largest beer market claiming one in every four pints sold globally, but in the main the sector is dominated by chilled lagers and light ales.

“Although British real ales are not currently very well known in China, we believe there is a strong growth opportunity for sweeter beers and real ales like our Jail Ale and Legend.”

Dartmoor Brewery which has been brewing their beers from the heart of Dartmoor National Park since 1994, has created a new Chinese version of the beer labels for the reverse of the bottles to comply with export requirements.  “British brands are well liked in China and we’re keen to appeal to both the ex-pat and premium Chinese markets, ” added Karen.

Dartmoor Brewery’s move into exports has been made possible by the company’s continued expansion which has been borne out of their ambitious growth strategy.  Within the last two years the Brewery has made investments in equipment, staff and a rebrand enabling the Brewery to expand sales beyond their South West heartland to across the UK.

Dartmoor Brewery is hopeful their beers will be well received by the Chinese and this will bring further sales success to the Princetown based brewery, “Exporting is a very exciting step for the Brewery and we hope to see sales rise as a direct result.  We’ve worked with advisors and we’re confident there is an appetite for real ale in China, but this initial Chinese order is just one pallet so we’ll be keen to hear how well it sells and what the Chinese craft beer market makes of our Dartmoor brewed beers.

Photo of Dartmoor Brewery’s Karen Lunney with bottles of Legend and Jail Ale ready for the Chinese market

Dartmoor Brewery’s Karen Lunney with bottles of Legend and Jail Ale ready for the Chinese market

“If well received, we could be looking at high volumes for future orders,” concluded Karen Lunney.

Dartmoor Brewery produces more than 2.5 million pints of award winning real ales, using traditional brewing techniques and local ingredients. Dartmoor Brewery is now Devon’s second largest brewery.


No Comments

How to save a pub at risk of closure

Every week 28 pubs close their doors. Here’s what councils and communities are doing to save them


The Wheatsheaf in Tooting Bec, south London, is a landmark for local residents. The large, three storey, red brick Victorian pub stands proudly opposite the tube station, the first sight for many visitors to the area. Last summer, however, there were rumours that its owner wanted to sell – and that top on the list of buyers was supermarket chain Tesco.


A campaign group sprang up to resist the sale. The local MP, Sadiq Khan, got involved, and media attention honed in on the site. Perhaps sensing a PR disaster, Tesco declared itself out of the bidding and other supermarkets followed suit. The owner, Enterprise Inns, also ruled out a sale and the future of The Wheatsheaf remains safe – for now.


Across the country, though, pubs are closing at a rapid pace and being converted for other uses. To many, this represents both a loss of heritage and a negative impact on community life. A recent report Public Houses: how councils and communities can save pubs, by real ale group Camra and the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU), thinktank, states that 28 UK pubs are closing every week. It also found that at least 208 have been converted into supermarkets since January 2012.


To view the whole article go to

No Comments

Are you ready for the Great British Beer Festival 2014?

Are you ready for the Great British Beer Festival 2014?

By Adrian Tierney-Jones, 16-Jul-2014

The Great British Beer Festival is one of the key events in the industry’s diary. Adrian Tierney-Jones highlights this year’s stand-out features


No Comments

London councils ‘curb pub openings’

London councils ‘curb pub openings’

By Ellie Bothwell, 17-Jul-2014

London councils are clamping down on granting planning permission for new drinking outlets, to prevent a “saturation of pubs” and the creation of “binge drinking hubs”, property agents have warned.


No Comments

MPs attack ‘grave flaws’ in pubs code proposals as Small Business Bill is debated

MPs attack ‘grave flaws’ in pubs code proposals as Small Business Bill is debated

By James Wallin, 16-Jul-2014

Pubs dominated heated discussions within the House of Commons this evening as the bill containing a proposed statutory code for the sector got its second reading.


No Comments

Kris Hopkins named new Community Pubs Minister

Kris Hopkins named new Community Pubs Minister

By Ruth Williams, 17-Jul-2014

Kris Hopkins has been named the new community pubs minister, replacing Brandon Lewis following the Cabinet reshuffle.


No Comments

Wadworth Launch‘Create Your Perfect Pint’ Competition Ahead Of Cask Ale Week

wadworth_perfect_pint pictureAhead of this years’ National Cask Ale Week, Wadworth is offering ale lovers the unique opportunity to create their very own ‘perfect pint’.

In a competition available throughout the 43 –strong Managed Estate, discerning drinkers will be asked to submit recipes containing up to 8 ingredients for a chance to brew their beer alongside Wadworth’s Master Brewers. The winning ale will then be sold in Managed Pubs* throughout Cask Ale Week (25th September – 5th October).

‘’At Wadworth we celebrate cask ale all year round’’ says Wadworth Trade Marketing Manager Emma Cottam. ‘’Many of our pubs offer the opportunity to try before you buy, as well as a selection of ‘beer tapas’ to encourage people to try new and exciting flavours; but with Cask Ale Week approaching we wanted to go one step further and offer a money-can’t buy prize that would get creative juices flowing!’’


Entry forms will be available in all Wadworth Managed Pubs between 1st-25th  August, with judging taking place on 1st September. The winner will then be invited to the brewery in Devizes to brew their beer, as well as taking home x4 5 litre mini casks, a souvenir pump clip and personalised tasting notes.


Wadworth & Co Ltd, Northgate Brewery, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 1JW.


No Comments