Seriously refreshing – Time to stock up with speciality beers and ciders

As spring arrives and the weather warms up, craft and speciality beers and ciders are seeing a seasonal boost in demand in the wholesale sector, ideal for enjoying with family and friends when out for a drink or relaxing in the garden and around the barbecue.

Charles-New-GreyThe big, heavily advertised beer and cider brands account for the lion’s share of sales in the wholesale sector, but to keep your on trade and retail customers coming back for more you need to make sure your wholesale offering also includes a broad selection of niche and speciality products.

At peak times of year stocks of beers and ciders can be hard to get hold of through the usual supply chain. An alternative means of sourcing supplies is to go through an online marketplace. In this feature we talk to Sam Ulph, MD of StarStock, the online drinks portal. StarStock follows HMRC guidelines and is a source of information on the recently launched Alcohol Wholesalers Registration Scheme (AWRS.)

Craft beers are one of the most interesting and exciting current developments in the UK beer market. There’s something for just about everyone, including Fairtrade and Vegan Societyapproved products, appealing to the growing number of shoppers looking for products that conform to these standards.

Fast growing brewer BrewDog has joined the growing number of UK breweries to reject the use of isinglass, the fining product made from dried fish bladders. BrewDog has registered 23 of its beers with the Vegan Society, including flagship brews Punk IPA and Five AM Red. And on the Fairtrade front Little Valley’s Ginger Pale Ale, from a Yorkshire-based family brewery, has been named the first Fairtrade beer of its kind in the world.

There’s plenty going on in the speciality beer and cider world outside the UK, and the good news is, it’s finding its way into this country. If you thought you knew everything about American beers, think again. Among the new wave of US-brewed craft beers doing well here, Saugatuck Backyard IPA is a new IPA-style beer imported by Heathwick Ltd.

For a taste of the Caribbean, Wanis International Foods has brought Trinidad and Tobago’s Stag beer from the Carib Brewery Ltd to the UK.

Chang, the iconic Thai lager beer familiar to us from Thai restaurants, is marking its 21st anniversary with a global relaunch including a packaging redesign, available from May. Chang has seen UK wholesale sales growth of around 50% over the last five years

Finally, Swedish brewers Kopparberg are best known for their ciders, but as fruit lagers take hold here, another delicious drinking alternative is Kopparberg’s Fruit Lager Lemon and Lime, the latest addition to the Kopparberg range