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UK abbey beer heads overseas

The first abbey beer to be brewed in the UK since the Reformation has found overseas markets in France, Denmark and Ireland.

As previously reported by the drinks business, Ampleforth Abbey beer, created at the monastery in North Yorkshire, went on sale last year and has recently received a large order for six hundred cases from one of France’s largest beer distributors, International Breweries and Beers.

The beer will also be served at the British Embassy in Paris on 21 July to celebrate the end of the Tour de France and to represent Yorkshire, where the historic cycle race will begin next year.

Sean McFetrich, director of commercial operations at Ampleforth, told the drinks business, that they had also received small orders from Denmark and Ireland.

“So exports are beginning to take off in a small way,” he said. “It’s definitely something we want to focus on. We think there’s definitely a market for exporting a continental style beer to the continent – and further afield.”

Brewed at the nearby Little Valley Brewery, the style of beer resurrected by the monks was known as “la bière anglaise” when the monastic communities were in exile on the continent following the Reformation.

These same communities subsequently fled across the Channel again in 1789 in the wake of the violently anti-clerical French Revolution.

The recipe was meticulously researched by Little Valley Brewery’s Dutch head brewer, Wim van der Spek and Father Wulstan from the abbey.

They also visited many Trappist monasteries in the Low Countries to see how their beer, which is very similar, is made.

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