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14th November 2017

Black Square crowned king of collaboration

Roger Ryman with the Black Square award



St Austell Brewery’s visionary partnership with Moscow’s New Riga’s Brewery to create Black Square Russian Imperial Stout for both the UK and the Russian markets has earned the company a special Collaboration Award at this year’s Insider Media Made in the South West (MiSW) awards.


The award-winning partnership was designed to showcase St Austell Brewery in Russia, cementing its reputation for quality beers and taking a long view to position the company as a premium producer to the Russian marketplace. The creation of Black Square also served to enhance New Riga’s reputation as a brewer of quality craft beer.


As Roger Ryman commented, “We’ve been working with New Riga’s for a number of years now as a distribution partner and when they opened their new brewery, it made perfect sense to go and work with them to create a brew that meant something to both of us and that we knew would work in both markets.


“Rather than concentrate on volume export to Russia, we decided to showcase the quality of our beers and introduce them slowly to an appreciative market. During our visit we were able to create some fantastic bonds of friendship and such a positive story and such good will is invaluable and impossible to emulate unless it is genuine. Black Square is a fantastic brew and the collaboration simply adds to its authenticity, while awards like this are the icing on the cake.”


Oleg Leandrov, New Riga’s General Manager echoed the sentiment, saying, “To be able to work with an award-winning brewer like Roger Ryman was a real treat for our brewing team. Between us, we have created something special that will be remembered by beer lovers in Moscow and beyond and they will now look forward to St Austell beers being available which benefits both St Austell and New Riga’s. To win an award for doing something you are passionate about in the company of good friends is just fantastic.”


Russian Imperial stout is a strong dark beer after the style that was brewed in the 18th century by Thrale’s brewery in London for export to the court of Catherine II of Russia. Black Square, a play on the famous Moscow Red Square landmark, is also the name of an iconic, pre-revolution Russian abstract artwork by Kazimir Malevich.


Tapped at this year’s Great British Beer Festival (GBBF), Black Square was conceived and originally brewed by St Austell Brewing Director Roger Ryman alongside the team from the New Riga’s Brewery in Moscow back in 2016. Released in keg into the Russian market, it instantly became New Riga’s best-loved craft ale.


Back in the UK, Black Square was re-brewed on the St Austell Brewery Small Batch and, having been allowed to mature in oak barrels across the summer, was released in 330ml bottles at the beginning of November for stout aficionados and beer lovers across the country to enjoy. At 12.5% ABV, Black Square is currently the strongest Cornish beer commercially available on the market.


Having won the Made in the South West accolade, the collaboration will now automatically be forwarded to the national Made in the UK Awards in 2018. For more information about the MiSW awards, visit For more information about Black Square or for ordering, visit For information about New Riga’s Brewery, follow @newrigasbrewery.

Chris Knight