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Barnsley brewery’s Christmas ales toast sales growth in 2015

A Barnsley brewery’s real ales, including its festive 13th Noel beer, are being delivered to more UK and overseas customers than ever before this Christmas.

December sales at Acorn Brewery are up 25 per cent on the same period last year with cask ales being distributed to hundreds of pubs and bars up and down the country and two shipments being sent to customers in Italy. The independent brewery has also taken orders for a record-breaking 35,000 bottles of beer.

The festive season’s increase in demand reflects a steady growth in sales throughout 2015. Turnover has risen 12 per cent in the past 12 months.

Dave Hughes, owner of Acorn Brewery, said: “It’s been a great 2015 and Christmas is a real celebration for us this year. Sales of our bottled beer to shops and supermarkets in particular have rocketed. We’ve consolidated our first foray into export and added new pubs and other outlets across our UK customer base.”

Acorn’s Christmas sales include the brewery’s six regular brands plus 30,000 pints of its annual festive favourites – a pale ale called Cracker and its darker, stronger partner called 13th Noel, which was first brewed 13 years ago when it was called 1st Noel.

The ‘Noel’ beer range is made stronger by 0.1 per cent  ABV every year and now stands at 6 per cent. 13th Noel is pulled alongside the lighter celebration ale option, Cracker which is 4.1 per cent.

Dave said: “We describe our Noel as ‘Christmas pudding in a glass’ because it is rich and fruity and its devotees enjoy the strength going up by a tenth of a per cent each year.

“We’ll probably keep going until it reaches 7 per cent in ten years, at which time my son Lewis will be 21 years old and I’ve promised him that he’ll brew the 23rd Noel.”

Acorn Brewery, based in Wombwell, saw three of its beers, Barnsley Bitter, Barnsley Gold and Yorkshire Pride, introduced to the shelves of more than 60 Yorkshire Co-ops this September through the Co-operative’s scheme to champion local produce.

And the brewery, which shipped its first export order to Italy 16 months ago, has sent around 10,000 pints to its Italian customers in the run up to Christmas. As well as taking the festive beers, the Italians can’t get enough of Barnsley Bitter.

The company which started trading in 2003 has a turnover of more than £1.2 million and employs 12 people. After doubling production over the last seven years, it now produces more than 30,000 pints of real ale a week.

Dave said: “We hope the 13th Noel will be lucky for us as we plan to investigate new export markets in Spain and Scandinavia in the New Year and continue to promote sales in the UK. We aim to increase trade again by at least 20 per cent in 2016.”

Matt Shaw

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