By SAM BUTLER
Whitewater Brewery, which is based in Castlewellan, County Down, has won substantial business in France for a range of its canned and bottled beers.
The independent brewery, a Great Taste Regional Golden Fork winner last year, has begun supplying one of the leading drink importers to restaurants across France following an approach from the long established business. Whitewater is not announcing the identity of the latest contract for commercial reasons.
The new importer in France is taking many of Whitewater’s most successful beers and stouts, including award winning brews such as Maggie’s Leap, Ewe Rebel, Belfast Ale and Belfast Black Stout, along with both red ales – Hen Cock and Pigeon Rock and Hallion Red.
Bernard Sloan, Whitewater Brewery’s managing director and founder, says: “We were delighted when the managing director of our new importer approached us about supplying products and subsequently travelled to Northern Ireland to sample our range and continue negotiations.
“The importer was impressed by our state-of-the-art brewery and our ability to produce both 330ml cans and 500ml bottles on the same site. He subsequently placed what is our biggest business to date in France, a market we have been targeting for some considerable time.
“He had also been drawn to Whitewater from the outstanding success of our Ewe Rebel (7 per cent ABV), a real heavyweight IPA, in winning Grand Gold at Frankfurt International Trophy 2019, voted Best Beer in the competition, and was keen to try more of our products. It’s a tremendous start to 2020.
“This is an important contract for us because it offers coverage to restaurants across France by a respected importer with vast experience in the sector.
“Furthermore, the importer works with restaurants in the development and printing of menus, which could mean that our beers could feature on these,” adds Mr Sloan.
Mr Sloan established Whitewater Brewery, now Northern Ireland’s largest independent brewery, in 1996 on a fifth generation family farm in the foothills of the iconic Mourne Mountains, near Kilkeel in County Down. Beers produced on-site subsequently collected a host of national and international awards.
Growing global demand for the beers and stouts led to a decision by Mr Sloan to develop a much larger and ultra-modern brewery at Castlewellan in 2018.
The brewery’s focus on quality and outstanding flavours was recognised in September when it was awarded three-stars and subsequently Regional Golden Fork in the influential UK Great Taste Awards for its unique Kreme dela Kremlin, a unique Russian Imperial Stout.