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16th December 2014


Moorhouse’s Brewery has entered the festive season in a buoyant spirit – reporting a sales surge of eight per-cent for its September and October trading with turnover reaching almost £1m.


Throughout the two months – which includes the peak Halloween season – sales hit 1m pints (some 3,472 barrels) and a turnover of £930,000 as the famous ‘Pendle Witches’ cask ales cast a spell over pubs nationwide and the bottled business grew with leading supermarket chains.


The record seasonal business was boosted by the inaugural roll out of Black Cat Reserve special*, which went on sale across the Wetherspoons chain in October. Best selling beer was Blond Witch, while the seasonal White Witch was the fastest growing brand.


The spiralling figures mark another significant milestone for the former ‘backstreet micro’, which has seen year-on-year growth since it took the bold step to buck the prevailing economic conditions with the launch a new £4.2m complex in 2011. In the last reported financial year turnover topped £5m as the beers reached new outlets across the UK.


MD David Grant said: ““Our consistent growth is a welcome reward for our investment in the future of cask ale. Nevertheless, trading is still very tough as we face up to the much troubled economic climate, many pubs closing each week and the relentlessly growing army of micro-brewers all clawing for room on fewer bars.”


“However we remain optimistic. September showed excellent trading, enhanced by the late summer weather. And, as publicans increasingly see us as the brewer of choice for the witching season, we were really delighted with our Halloween results.


“As our award winning beers increasingly beguile cask fans across the South East, we were rewarded with exposure in premier London pubs, such as the Porterhouse in Covent Garden. For November –always a tricky trading month for pubs – our sales also held up extremely well.


“It is too early to say how Christmas will go, but we expect our new national business to pay dividends. Meanwhile, we will continue to nurture the free trade business with excellent service in our northern heartland – we have five festive beers on offer.”


Last December some 500,000 festive pints were sold in an uplift of eight-per-cent on sales for 2012, with outstanding growth of 55 per cent for seasonal cask specials and 35 per cent for its bottle range.

Ends/Ref: MHPR Record Trading for Autumn 2014




Notes editors:

Moorhouse’s brands are themed around the story of the ill-fated ‘witches’ who roamed the landmark Pendle Hill near Burnley in the early 17th century and the brewery has won more awards than any other brewer of its size. It directly supplies several hundred free trade customers through the North of England, while the brands are also distributed nationally via leading wholesalers and pub companies.

Black Cat was voted Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival 2000, while Pride of Pendle claimed the Champion Cask Ale title at the Brewing Industry International Awards (BIIA) 2004 and Premier Bitter was voted gold in its class by the BIIA; Pendle Witches Brew was twice runner-up in the  Camra GBBF annual contest and has received a silver medal at the BI IA. Blond Witch  has collected many awards from Camra and SIBA. The brewery is one of few in the country to be awarded the prestigious Cask Marque Distribution Charter

*Black Cat Reserve (4.6%abv and 7%abv) taste notes say: ‘An intensely dark beer, Black Cat Reserve conjures deep complex notes of roasted coffee, chocolate and mocha, balanced by hints of dark cherry and blackcurrant from the Polish Junga hop’.

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