Belfast Telegraph

Brewery Clanconnel raises glass after breakthrough in America

A Co Armagh brewery is toasting a breakthrough into the American beer market.

Clanconnel has made links with a distributor in Indiana and plans to begin marketing three local brews in the USA.

The company is founded and owned by Waringstown man Mark Pearson, who said he plans to develop the business significantly in 2011.

"We've established our products in the Northern Ireland market and have broken into the Republic, and we see the United States as a significant opportunity for us, particularly as we have been achieving good reviews in brewing media over there, and have developed links with a key distributor," he said.

Clanconnel was one of more than 1,800 Northern Ireland small to medium-sized enterprises to secure lending from Ulster Bank in 2010.

David Andrews, business development manager at Ulster Bank, said 800 of the 1,800 businesses had switched from other banks.

He added: "Many of these are start-up or emerging companies with high growth and export potential."

Last month Clanconnel secured export business in the Republic by winning a deal to supply to gastropubs, bars and restaurants in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

The company agreed the distribution deal with CWI Drinks in Dublin for an undisclosed sum.

The firm also recently won the Champion Beer Award at the Belfast Beer Festival ahead of 80 other beers and ales from across the UK for its latest product, McGrath's Irish Black Stout.

It recently produced an additive-free ale called Weaver's Gold, a name inspired by Waringstown's linen heritage.