JD Wetherspoon launches American craft beer brewing initiative

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Craft beer, Brewery

American craft beers Sunset Red and Bengali Tiger are on sale for a month in branches of JD Wetherspoon as part of a new brewing initiative
American craft beers Sunset Red and Bengali Tiger are on sale for a month in branches of JD Wetherspoon as part of a new brewing initiative
JD Wetherspoon has invited selected craft brewers from America to produce their beers in the UK as part of a new initiative to capitalise on the UK's growing interest in craft beer.

Each month until next February, two brewers from the US will team up with two UK brewers to produce the beers in the UK before they go on sale in JD Wetherspoon pubs. 

This month Mark Szmaida, from Chelsea Brewing Co in New York will be brewing the 5% abv Sunset Red at Wadworth in Devizes, while Jan Matysiak and Heather McReynolds, from Sixpoint Brewery will be brewing the 6.4% abv Bengali Tiger IPA at Adnams in Southwold.

Gary Holmes of JD Wetherspoon, said the initiative had come about following a series of successful visits from overseas brewers to the UK as part of the company's annual beer festival. 

“Our collaboration with overseas brewers has proved such a success for our festivals, so we were keen to extend the idea and focus specifically on USA craft beer," he said. 

“There is a growing interest in the US craft beer market and this initiative combines the best of craft brewing with the traditional British cask-conditioned beer. This monthly brewing partnership will provide a great opportunity for Wetherspoon customers to discover this particular speciality beer.”

Craft beer 

Craft brewing has been present in the US since 1979 when deregulation of brewing led to a growing number of enthusiasts setting up small-scale breweries and experimenting with old and new styles to produce more niche, interesting and high quality beers. 

The trend has caught on more recently in the UK with research from food and drink consultants CGA Strategy showing that the category has grown 79 per cent in the last year with craft beer now stocked in almost a quarter of all on-trade outlets. 

CGA chief operating officer Phil Tate said: "Craft has been a source of much debate over recent months, illustrating the interest the category holds. Consumers are drawn to the modern branding that appeals to a younger and broader demographic. Consumer affinity to the category stems a thirst for discovery and an experience that they can introduce to their friends.”

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