Supermarket chain snaps up new craft beer product

A Leamington-based beer brand is set to have its new product stocked by supermarket chain Waitrose.

Empress Ale’s craft beers are already stocked by restaurants including Michelin-starred Adam’s, Purnell’s and Opheem in Birmingham, but it’s recently added a lager to its range for the first time.

The British-produced Pilsner-style Lager which is gluten-free, organic and vegan, will now be available in 273 Waitrose stores across the UK, as well as online from Empress themselves.

After securing investment from Grenville Turner, former chief executive of Countrywide PLC and former Zoopla board member, Empress has been able to to take the business to the next level and add to the range.

Entrepreneur Surj Virk set up the business in 2016 and since then has grown it into a brand whose Pale Ale and IPA are stocked in some of the top hospitality venues across the country, including restaurants owned by Tom Kerridge and Jason Atherton.

He said: “Empress is hugely personal to me – it’s a British-made beer using old English recipes for inspiration, but also has a nod to my Indian heritage and some personal tributes to members of my family.

“For me, Empress really is a true modern British brand and we’re delighted that our new, unique product – a pilsner-style lager – has been recognised by Waitrose as something they want to show off to their customers. It doesn’t just taste great but is also vegan, organic and gluten-free, making it perfect for the modern beer drinker.”

Soon after its launch, the lager was served as a guest beer in the House of Commons Strangers’ Bar shortly and since then has gained the seal of approval from an array of top chefs and bar owners.