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Acorn Brewery off to Barcelona trade fair to seek Spanish exports

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An independent Barnsley brewery is heading to Barcelona this week in a bid to crack the Spanish market – after successfully selling its real ale in Italy.

Acorn Brewery will attend the UKTI’s Great British Speciality Beer and Food Exhibition this Thursday.

Brewery owner Dave Hughes and commercial director David Broadhead will take a selection of Acorn’s most popular bottled beers to the trade event which is expected to attract more than 60 Spanish buyers – including wholesalers, supermarkets and bar chain owners.

Dave Hughes said: “The Barcelona trade fair is a fantastic opportunity to get ourselves in front of big buyers in Spain.

“We made a start shipping beers to Italy four months ago and are keen to gain more export sales as a key part of our growth strategy.

“We’ve rebranded and re-labelled our range of bottled beers for the international market and are very pleased to be taking part in this UKTI trade initiative.”

Acorn’s first Italian order, delivered in October last year, was worth £10,000 and repeat orders have followed from the same wholesale buyer, who supplies bars and restaurants in the north of Italy.

The brewery, which has a turnover of £1.2 million, has also seen growth in sales in the UK market. It currently delivers beer direct to more than 400 pubs and bars and 50 retail outlets including delis and farm shops in the north and midlands – and supplies to countless others across the UK via wholesalers.

After winning an order to supply 75 Morrisons stores last year, Acorn now counts all five established UK supermarkets, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, on its customer list.

Dave said: “Our aim is to invest in further expansion in 2015 and seek new buyers at home and abroad. We currently brew about 30,000 pints of real ale per week but have the capacity to ramp that up to 45,000 and beyond.”

On their trade stand in Barcelona, Dave and David will showcase the brewery’s six permanent beers – Yorkshire Pride, Barnsley Bitter, Barnsley Gold, Acorn Blonde, Old Moor Porter and Gorlovka. One-to-one appointments with supermarket buyers have also been pre-arranged through the UKTI.

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is a government organisation which supports businesses to export and import. According to UKTI figures Spain is the UK’s eighth largest export market and Spaniards drink more beer than wine – beer making up 50 per cent of the total consumption of alcohol there.

More than one and a half million British citizens live in Spain and the country welcomes more than 14 million British tourists a year.

Two other independent Yorkshire brewers will attend the Great British Speciality Beer and Food Exhibition along with Acorn – they are Hambleton Ales of Ripon and Wold Top of Driffield.

Acorn independent brewery was established in 2003. It is based on Aldham industrial estate in Wombwell and employs 12 people.

Hand-pulled cask ale still accounts for 90 per cent of Acorn’s production but investment over the last couple of years has seen a 20 per cent increase in the production of bottled beers too – and this product has opened up export and retail markets.

One of Acorn Brewery’s best-selling brands is the iconic Barnsley Bitter which it has produced since 2003 using the original strain of Barnsley Bitter yeast, dating back to the 19th century.

Acorn’s Barnsley Bitter most recently won Gold in the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) North East Region competition (standard strength brew category) and will go forward to the national finals to be judged at BeerX Festival held in Sheffield next month.

Acorn Brewery also runs the Old No 7 in Barnsley town centre where it showcases the brewery’s own beers amongst other worldwide brands.

Dave Hughes and David Broadhead in Acorn Brewery's Old No 7 pub
Dave Hughes and David Broadhead in Acorn Brewery’s Old No 7 pub

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