Pendle Witches put Moorhouse’s on high

X The Business Desk

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MOORHOUSE’S Brewery, the maker of the famous Pendle Witches beer, cast its spell over the nation in its 150th anniversary year with outstanding festive sales.

The Burnley-based company reported trade boosted by success with leading pub companies, with sales of Pendle Witches soaring by 26% and revenue rising 20% compared to December 2013.

The free trade business – concentrated in northern England – held its own against fierce competition from the burgeoning ranks of micro-brewers.

Seasonal needs were met by Ice Witch, made available alongside a selection of Christmas themed blended special ales.

Bottled sales enjoyed a 34% spike with further exposure through leading supermarkets.

Moorhouse’s has enjoyed business growth overall by 10 per cent for the past year.

Annual turnover is now north of £5m for the former ‘back street’ Burnley brewery, which took the bold step of launching a new £4.2m complex in 2011.

The December sales surge followed record growth for the Halloween season in October and has inspired a cautiously buoyant mood as the internationally acclaimed brewery entered its milestone 150th year.

Managing director David Grant said: “Our free trade business remained steady in the face of the onslaught of competition from the ever growing army of micro-brewers.

“As we enter our 150th year of trading we are facing a very challenging business environment.

“However, our recent growth has further buoyed our confidence for the future. We are investing in new branding and new staff along with training initiatives to ensure an even better service.

“When our beers go into pubs they rapidly disappear, but as we fight pump-by-pump for a place on the bar we need to ensure that licensees are stocking enough beer.

“We are asking pub goers to help by using social media to alert us when supplies of their favourite Moorhouse’s beers are running out.”

Mr Grant also welcomed the newly launched ‘Tryanuary’ campaign which aims to counter the ‘Dry January’ movement by encouraging consumers to try a new beer.

Last year he was almost a lone voice in speaking out against abstinence lobby, which he warned was damaging to the pub industry.