The landmark sales figure tops a period of significant growth in orders at the Barnsley-based brewery which has seen sales increase 12 per cent in the past 12 months.
Acorn Brewery owner Dave Hughes said: “Our latest order books show that, all in all, we now supply our customers across the UK and Europe with just over half a million pints of Barnsley Bitter a year.
“That means the equivalent of just over a pint of Barnsley Bitter is sold every minute of the day, whether it is a pint pulled behind a bar or a bottle picked off a supermarket shelf.
“We couldn’t believe it when we sat down and worked that out. The count up has been a real boost – and spurs us on to invest in further development at the brewery and go on increasing production and sales. Our aim is to increase trade again by at least 20 per cent this year.”
In 2015, Dave plans to invest in a larger coldstore plus new fermenters and conditioning tanks at the Wombwell-based independent brewery.
Barnsley Bitter is Acorn’s best-selling brand and is produced using the original strain of Barnsley Bitter yeast, dating back to the mid-19th century.
The iconic multi-award winning real ale most recently won Silver in a national competition to find the best ‘standard strength’ beer in the country, organised by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).
Barnsley Bitter combines Maris Otter malt and English hops and has a 3.8 per cent ABV. It is described as a chestnut-coloured ale with a well-rounded, rich flavour and lasting bitter finish.
As well as Barnsley Bitter, Acorn’s sales figures show that is sells three pints of real ale a minute right across its range of permanent ales which includes Barnsley Gold, Yorkshire Pride, Blonde, Gorlovka and Old Moor Porter. The brewery also produces a range of seasonal IPAs and kegged beers.
Dave puts growth in sales down to the company’s hard work to expand its customer base.
He said: “We’ve grown successfully since we set up in 2003 and have doubled production over the last seven years from 50 brewers’ barrels to 100 a week to meet demand. In the last 12 months, we have seen some really great additions to our customer list including our first exports.”
Acorn now delivers direct to more than 400 pubs and bars in the north and midlands and supplies hundreds of others via wholesalers. Its beers can be bought in more than 50 independent retailers and, towards the end of 2014, the brewery secured a deal to supply 75 Morrisons stores in the north, meaning it now sells into all five big supermarkets; Morrisons, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.
Acorn secured its first export order shipping £10,000 worth of its real ale to Italy last year – and other Italian orders have followed. A brewery delegation also went to the UKTI’s recent ‘Barcelona Food and Drink Exhibition’ to court Spanish buyers.
Acorn’s acquisition of the Old Number 7 pub in Barnsley town centre in 2011 has also had a significant impact on sales with between eight and 10 percent of all its beer now being sold there.
Acorn Brewery, established in 2003, is based on Aldham industrial estate in Wombwell and has a turnover of £1.2 million. It employs 12 people and produces around 30,000 pints of real ale every week.
Dave added: “Our motto is ‘tradition and innovation’ and we are proud of our reputation for brewing traditional hand-pulled cask ales, plus our success in developing the newer products such as kegged beers and also increasing production of bottled beers for new markets.
“We are committed to growing the business, but also maintaining our quality and integrity as a small, independent brewer.”