New Wexford beer goes down a treat
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.