Lancashire’s acclaimed ‘Pendle Witches’ cask ales hit record sales last month with more than 600,000 pints sold for the Halloween season. And the 23 per cent surge over October 2012 delivered a ‘magical’ £500,000 turnover for Moorhouse’s – making it the best ever month for the fast growing Burnley brewer.
Two years ago the former ‘backstreet micro brewery’ bucked the economic climate to launch a £4.2m brewing complex. This trebled former production capacity to more than 15m-pints-a-year, making Moorhouse’s the ‘North West’s newest regional brewery’.
The new plant has allowed sales to spread beyond the northern heartland to reach pubs throughout the UK – especially in London and the South East – via national pub companies and leading wholesalers. Award winning brands such as the Black Cat, Pendle Witches Brew and Blond Witch pay tribute to the legend of the legendary’ witches’ who roamed the local landmark Pendle Hill in the early 17th century.
The top selling brand for last month was seasonal brew White Witch which was featured within the Enterprise and Heineken estates, followed by Blond Witch and Pride of Pendle.* Moorhouse’s has also seen bottled exports growing with the USA for Halloween and has recently won orders with China and in Asia.
In 2001 the brewery was producing only around 50 brewer’s-barrels a week (some 14,400 pints) but recently passed a 5m-pints-a-year milestone while reporting a turnover of £4.5m for the last financial year (2012) .The company aims to reach £7m t/o by 2015, en-route to achieving full production for the 1000-barrels-a-week capacity brewery.**
David Grant, managing director, said: “We are increasingly recognised as the foremost brewer for the Halloween season – our busiest trading period of the year. Although we still have quite a way to go to reach full production, results like this justify our decision to invest in the future of cask ale. All industry evidence points to a very positive future for well crafted cask ale, which outperforms a declining overall beer market.
“A £500,000 turnover in one month is not bad for a brewery that only a relatively short time ago was regarded as a small micro hidden away in a Burnley backstreet. Even as we demolished the old brewery, the bottom was falling out of the economy and more than twenty pubs a week are still closing – so it is particularly gratifying to report this healthy growth.”
Ends/MHPR Halloween sales success 2013.
Note to editors:
Founder William Moorhouse established his drinks manufacturing business in Accrington Road, Burnley, and Lancashire in 1865. Originally it produced mineral waters and then low strength hop bitters for Temperance Movement bars. Moorhouse’s began full strength brewing in the 1970s and in the eighties Manchester businessman Bill Parkinson bought the then ailing brewery ‘because he liked the beer’.
Since then the internationally acclaimed ‘Pendle Witches brewer’ has won more awards than any comparable brewer – Black Cat (3.4%abv) was crowned Supreme Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival 2000 and in early 2011 was proclaimed the best moderate strength ale by the Brewing Industry International Awards (BIIA) – the ‘Oscar’s’ of the brewing world. Pride of Pendle (4.1%abv) was hailed as ‘best cask ale in the world’ when voted BIIA Champion Cask Ale in 2004 and Premier Bitter (3.7%abv) also took gold in its class the same year. Pendle Witches Brew has also won several top brewing awards while Blond Witch, the newest and fastest growing brand, has enjoyed wide acclaim from consumer and industry competitions.
Now, Moorhouse’s directly supplies several hundred pubs throughout the North West, Midlands and Yorkshire, while distributing nationally via leading wholesalers and major pub chains.
*A brewer’s barrel is 288 pints.
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