The owners of Whitewater Brewery have done the double after securing an export deal and picking up a top award.
Whitewater, a small artisan brewer of handcrafted ale, lager and now stout, has signed a distribution deal in New York that will see its products on sale in bars and off licences in early 2010.
The contract is the Kilkeel-based brewery’s first venture into the huge US marketplace. It received assistance from Invest Northern Ireland.
It comes just days after the White Horse Inn, Saintfield, also owned by the owners of Whitewater was named as the top pub in Co Down at the annual pub awards. The new Belfast Black Dry Stout was launched in Northern Ireland last month and has already attracted widespread interest within the local hospitality industry.
The brewery has a successful track record in selling its established ales and lagers including its award winning Belfast Ale and Clotworthy Dobbin beer to bars, hotels, restaurants and leading retail chains such as Sainsbury and Tesco.
The quality of Whitewater Brewery’s products has been recognised by judges in the influential UK Great Taste Awards, the annual food and drink ‘Oscars’ organised by the Somerset-based Guild of Fine Foods, which promotes gourmet food and drink in Britain. The brewery’s products have also been listed among the world’s top 50 beers.
Managing director Bernard Sloan said: “There’s a developing market in the US eastern states for ethnic beers brewed using only natural ingredients and by traditional techniques.
“The launch of the new stout is contributing to the growth that we’ve been experiencing over the past few years. Our business this year is up by 35% and by an annual average of 30% over the past three years. The brewery has also benefited substantially from the guidance and practical assistance from the Invest NI Southern Regional Office team in Newry.”