Monks at Ampleforth Abbey are celebrating the news that Britain’s first Benedictine beer for nearly 500 years is proving a hit. The Abbey has teamed up with Little Valley Brewery in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, to produce a beer similar to those made famous by Trappist monasteries in Belgium.
First results show that more than 4,000 bottles of Ampleforth Abbey Beer were sold in the first month, with demand far exceeding supply. Sean McFetrich, director of commercial operations, reports: ‘We sold 368 cases of 4,416 bottles, 55% per cent of which was through the Abbey shop, our website (www.ampleforth.org.uk) and our tea room, tours and shows.
* Subscribe to Country Life and save £1 per issue
Tesco will be selling the beer in its Yorkshire stores from November, and we’ve had many other enquiries, including several from France, Italy, Denmark and Taiwan, but we want to consolidate our regional market before expanding too quickly.’ The Benedictine community, which also produces damson and sloe gin, took its brewing skills to France when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, and returned with a more Continental process after the French Revolution in 1789.
* Follow Country Life Magazine on Twitter