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Cowny Brewer Brings Real Ale Drinking To Masses

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Conwy based beer brewer Gwynne Thomas is introducing real ale to the mainstream with his popular Welsh Honey Bitter, produced exclusively for Marks & Spencer.

A keen brewer since his days as a chemistry student at Newcastle University, Gwynne, 40, opened the Conwy Brewery in 2003 brewing a range of real ales using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Welsh Honey Bitter is made using 100 per cent Welsh honey sourced from Ceredigion, South Wales, creating a delicate beer with sweet honey aromas and a clean, dry finish.The unique blend of pale malts used to brew this particular bitter gives the brew a smooth texture with a light, fresh taste - perfect for those who may be taking their first steps into real ale drinking.

Research shows that whilst there are around seven million regular real ale drinkers in the UK, a huge 85 per cent of these are men with 63 per cent aged over 45.

Gwynne thinks this is set to change due to the growing popularity of real ale drinking amongst women and younger markets in recent years.

He said: "With the help of organised beer festivals and sampling opportunities across the UK, more and more people are getting the opportunity to try real ales and are enjoying the many varieties available. The fact that retailers like M&S are selling a selection of real ales from across the UK has also helped introduce the drink to different markets.

Gwynne continues, "The feedback we've received regarding the Welsh Honey Bitter is that this is an easy to drink real ale which is perfect with BBQ's or just a lazy day in the garden due to its crisp and refreshing taste."

As many rural areas in Wales are completely unspoilt and untouched by artificial fertilisers, the honey produced and then used during the brewing process at Conwy Brewery makes for a distinctive and truly natural flavour which differs slightly between seasons.

Gwynne continues: "Welsh Honey Bitter will taste subtly different depending on the time of year it is brewed. For example, it has a more floral influences earlier in the season as a result of the summer flowers, compared to later in the year when the heather gives the bitter more of a woody and rich flavour."

Real ale is a beer brewed from traditional ingredients including malted barley, hops, water and yeast, matured by secondary fermentation in the bottle, trapping the carbon dioxide bubbles to give the refreshing fizz. This natural method of brewing using fresh ingredients results in a drink which tastes natural and full of flavour. There are thought to be about 2,500 different types of real ale in Britain.

Marks & Spencer (real ale) specialist Sue Daniels said: "Welsh Honey Bitter is ideal for first time real ale drinkers as, unlike some beers, it doesn't have a particularly bitter taste which those dipping their toe into real ale drinking can be particularly sensitive to.

"Our locally sourced real ale range is very popular and we worked closely with Gwynne in producing a top quality honey beer for our customers to enjoy. Following a year long trial of the Welsh Honey Bitter in selected stores, we are now rolling it out to more than 200 stores across the UK."

Gwynne Thomas will be attending this year's Royal Welsh Show and his Welsh Honey Bitter can be sampled at the M&S stand situated at the cross roads of Avenue K and N.

This year's show will see M&S host a busy programme as part of the retailer's 125th birthday celebrations including cookery demonstrations with M&S chef Andy Gratton and the first ever Plan A Awards celebrating supplier excellence and best practice.

Welsh Honey Bitter can be found at Marks & Spencer's food halls across the UK.




For further information, images, interviews and samples please contact:

Siobhan McGrogan at Beattie Communications on 0161 932 1027/ 07718 660 120 or email siobhan.mcgrogan@beattiegroup.com