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9th January 2014


Brewery boss hits out at ‘Dry January’ move

Moorhouse’s – the
North West’s newest regional brewer – has reported record Christmas sales as many pubs enjoyed a busy festive season.

The acclaimed
Burnley brewery saw some 500,000 pints sold to yield a healthy uplift of eight per cent on sales in December 2012. There was outstanding growth of 55 per cent for special festive beers and 35 per cent for its bottle range, sold through leading supermarkets. Fastest growing brand Blond Witch grew by some 13 per cent.

Ice Witch
was rolled out on general release to the free trade for the first time alongside the popular White Witch, while Lap Prancer was delivered exclusively to the to M&B outlets nationally and Elves Bells to the Wetherspoon’s chain. The December sales surge followed record growth for the Halloween season in October.   

David Grant, Moorhouse’s managing director, said: “It was a good festive season.
Our sales with pub companies have greatly helped the seasonal specials. Free trade customers also enjoyed a good season – with people enjoying the celebrations despite the still struggling economy.

“The year ahead will be
challenging, as we compete against the every increasing number of micro brewers. But we are confident that the growth strategy we put in place in 2013 will yield positive results for the success of our new brewery.

Mr Grant also warned of the danger of a ‘Dry January’ Alcohol Concern campaign which is attempting to encourage abstinence for the month – is always a difficult trading period. Appealing to pub goers to turn their backs to the campaign, he said: “Yes, many pubs have enjoyed good a Christmas. But there are still some 20 pubs closing each month and publicans do not need a January black hole.
My concern is this campaign for a dry January that could keep customers away. Pubs are part of our heritage and the best place to drink sensibly and socialise in a secure and controlled environment. We should all encourage that.

“Do the “do-gooders” not realise that the leisure industry is the largest employer in the country? If they persist in this sort of campaign pub and restaurant staff could be laid off as the December trade boost is lost in January. This is not only bad for the pubs but also bad for the pub customer.

“Next Christmas those licensees still in business may well look to increase margins to cover for the lack of January business.
My New Year message is; Pubs are not just for Christmas. If you wish your local be there for Christmas 2014, please give them your support through the winter months and drink sensibly.” Ends/Ref: MHPR/Moorhouse’s Festive sales success 2013

Notes to editors

Moorhouse’s brands pay tribute to the legend of the ill fated ‘witches’ of landmark Pendle Hill near Burnley who were tried and executed at Lancaster in 1612. 

Several hundred free trade pubs throughout the North West and Yorkshire are supplied directly while leading national pub companies and wholesalers distribute across the UK. Regular orders of Moorhouse’s cask alealso reach the popular Charlie’s Bar in Copenhagen.

Founder William Moorhouse established his drinks manufacturing business in Accrington Road, Burnley, Lancashire in 1865. It produced mineral waters and then low strength hop bitters for Temperance Movement bars. Full strength cask ale brewing began in the 1970s. It struggled to survive and in the mid eighties Manchester businessman Bill Parkinson bought the brewery ‘because he liked the beer’. In 2011 Moorhouse’s launched a new £4.2m to treble production capacity.

Now Moorhouse’s has won more brewing awards than any other brewer of its size. Black Cat was voted Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) Champion Beer of Britain 2000 and won gold in class at the Brewing Industry International Awards 2011; Pride of Pendle claimed the Champion Cask Ale title at the BIIA 2004 and Premier Bitter was voted gold in class; Pendle Witches Brew was twice runner-up in the Camra annual contest and has received a silver medal at the BIIA. Blond Witch, the fastest growing brand, has collected awards from many Camra beer festivals since it launched six years ago.

For further media information contact: Steve Hobman, Rhino Public Relations: mobile 07751 578605/ 01829 250502/ email: