New Wex­ford beer goes down a treat

Jan­uary 1995

New Ross Standard - - NEWS -

A new beer with strong lo­cal con­nec­tions went on sale in En­nis­cor­thy at the week­end. The first tap serv­ing Wex­ford Cream Ale was in­stalled at The Antique Tav­ern in Slaney Street. A sec­ond bar­rel has been rolled into Ka­vanagh’s Club in Tem­ple­shan­non.

The new en­try into the fiercely com­pet­i­tive beer mar­ket is made un­der li­cence at Bury St. Ed­mund’s in Eng­land. How­ever, it brewed un­der li­cence from G.H. Lett’s at Fri­ary Hill and is made to an old recipe from the En­nis­cor­thy com­pany.

‘Wex­ford’ was launched dur­ing De­cem­ber on the English mar­ket in Suf­folk and London, where brew­ers Green King say sales are brisker than ex­pected. Now Douglas Lett is com­ing un­der pres­sure to make it avail­able in more pubs around the county af­ter which it is named.

‘ The feed­back we have been get­ting sug­gests that we need to get mov­ing on this,’ said Douglas. Cer­tainly there was no shortage of tak­ers at the Antique, where it is now sell­ing at the nor­mal pint price of £1.92

Though it is an ale, it keeps its head al­most as well as Guinness, and it is con­sid­er­ably smoother than its main ri­val, Smith­wick’s. It is be­lieved that Green King and Lett’s are anx­ious to see it es­tab­lish it­self be­fore two sim­i­lar new brews on the way – Kilkenny and Caf­frey’s – flood the mar­ket.

‘I be­lieve that it will go a bomb in Wex­ford and sur­round­ing coun­ties,’ com­mented Antique land­lord, Vincent Hef­fer­nan. Douglas Lett and his fa­ther Bill are due to go to Eng­land for a trade launch of the prod­uct early in Fe­bru­ary.

Brew­ing stopped at Fri­ary Hill some 40 years ago, when a pint of ‘Lett’s Strong Beer’ cost a shilling (5 new pence) for a pint bot­tle. Dur­ing 146 years of pro­duc­tion by the fam­ily firm, many dif­fer­ent beers were pro­duced, and one of those old recipes has in­spired the new Wex­ford brew.

The com­pany has also con­tin­ued to hold the li­cence on the St. Kil­lian’s red beer which is pop­u­lar in the U.S. and on the con­ti­nent. Ac­cord­ing to Douglas Lett, there is ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity that fur­ther recipes may be dusted off and sold around the world.

For the mo­ment at least, the Wex­ford Ir­ish Cream Ale tap, with its dis­tinc­tive green light, will be avail­able only in a lim­ited num­ber of Ir­ish pubs. ‘It’s a good prod­uct and we are proud to be as­so­ci­ated with it,’ he said, ‘ but we will stay in the lo­cal­ity for the mo­ment.’

The lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Bury St. Ed­mund’s were only opened up last Septem­ber, when he re­ceived a phone call from a Green King ex­ec­u­tive. Ap­par­ently they had seen Lett’s men­tioned in a trade jour­nal.

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