By SAM BUTLER
Northern Ireland’s Whitewater Brewery has won first business in Sweden for its award-winning Kreme de la Kremlin Imperial Russian Stout in 330ml cans. Based at Castlewellan in County Down, Whitewater, an independent craft brewer, is supplying its Imperial Stout (ABV10.5 per cent), a winner of the coveted three stars in this year’s UK Great Taste Awards, to Systembolaget, the Swedish government-owned chain of liquor stores.
The Stockholm-based state body is the only one allowed to sell alcoholic beverages in Sweden and has almost 450 retail outlets across the country.
Managing director Bernard Sloan, who founded Whitewater Brewery in 1996, says: “We identified Sweden as a potential market for us as part of our strategic focus on pinpointing opportunities to grow sales outside Northern Ireland.
“We already have developing business in other European markets as well as in Japan and Singapore.
“Earlier in the year we submitted samples, including our unique Imperial Stout, to Systembolaget for its rigorous procedures that include exacting taste panels.
“The stout passed with flying colours and was subsequently selected for launch in the run up to the Christmas season under the Celtic Christmas Stout label.
“We are thrilled by this new business in an immensely important and quality regulated global marketplace.
“Our Imperial stout is a strong and richly flavoured dark stout that’s been carefully brewed and then aged for 12 weeks in whiskey casks in the brewery. It packs quite a punch.
“While we now operate from a purpose-built brewery, among the most modern in Northern Ireland, we remain faithful to traditional craft brewing techniques that ensure premium quality and consistently outstanding taste,” adds Mr Sloan.
In addition to being listed among the top companies in this year’s Great Taste Awards, Whitewater Brewery, a family business, has won endorsement for its beers at major industry competitions in Budapest and Frankfurt, where the Imperial Stout was named the UK’s ‘Best Beer’.
“Our continuing success in Britain, Ireland and other international markets is the outcome of our commitment to use only the very best ingredients in the production of all our beers,” Mr Sloan continues.
“Winning three stars in this year’s Great Taste Awards was a massive boost which we hope will increase awareness, especially in Britain, a market we are keen to expand existing business,” he adds.
Business development body Invest NI has assisted the development of the company’s plant and international marketing campaign.
As well as its own canning line, Whitewater supplies its range of beers and stout in bottles and casks.