Portadown craft brewery wins first export business in Italy

McCracken SM Farm

McCrackens Real Ale, an award-winning craft brewery, has won its first export business in Italy. The brewery is a Food NI member.

Based in Portadown, County Armagh, the family-owned and managed brewery secured the important export sales for its extensive portfolio of beers following a direct approach from a leading distributor in Milan.

Ryan McCracken, the founder and managing director of the business, explains: “At the end of January, the Italian distributor reached out to us through social media, where I later discovered he had come across our range of Irish craft beers.

“The distributor liked our beers and was impressed by our position as a traditional, independent, family-run brewery which produces quality and award-winning beers in relatively small batches,” Mr McCracken adds.

The distributor, he continues, had been sourcing beers through similar breweries in Britain but found supply threatened by the country’s withdrawal from the EU and decided to look for an alternative supplier in Northern Ireland, a part of the UK remaining within the European Community.

Mr McCracken adds: “We quickly discovered that we were a right fit for each other and after some further discussions around our range we received a confirmed initial order for a couple of pallets.

“The export business is a real boost for the business at a time when many of our outlets in bars, restaurants and hotels have been shut due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

“We had previously developed a new Irish stout, ‘McCrackens Black’, and had been planning on introducing it later in the year.

“It was good timing as the distributor loved the idea and we ended up bringing our plans forward a few months.

“The distributor embraced our Irish beers in our range and has ordered our IPA – Irish Pale Ale, Red, Irish Red Ale, Black, Irish Stout and Gold Pale Ale,” he adds.

The Irish craft beers will be distributed to a network of outlets, especially in northern Italy from Milan.

McCrackens Real Ales has won several UK awards for outstanding taste and has also supplied customers in Great Britain by means of social media in particular.

Mr McCracken set up the craft distillery and developed the range of bottle-conditioned beers using his own recipes in September 2018.

He had started brewing as a hobby in 2014 and continues as the brewery’s main brewer.

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