Four breweries among Cumbrian producers to “toast” Co-op contract win

31 July 2017

Four Cumbrian-based breweries are among a host of producers in the County to “toast” new contract wins with the Co-op.

The move will see eight businesses supply a new range of over 40 products from this month (August) as the Co-op extends its local sourcing programme into Cumbria.

UK-wide the community retailer has committed to double its local suppliers. This sits alongside a five-point small business charter which is designed to champion local producers, fostering closer relationships and breaking down the traditional trading barriers that smaller businesses can often face. The Co-op – which last year returned to its iconic “clover leaf” designed logo – is to stock the new range in 18 of its stores in Cumbria.

Cumbrian brewers involved in the programme include: the Handsome Brewery which, based in Bowston, which will supply eight of its brews. The Penrith-based Eden Brewery; Stringers Beer of Ulverston and, the Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery Company.

Established in 2009, Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery Company – a family-run craft brewery which names its ales after local themes and landmarks – will supply the retailer with two of its beers, its Monumental blond ale, named after the monument in Kirkby Lonsdale square and, it’s Stanley’s Pale Ale, named after the road bridge. The brewery – which runs a 60 barrel per week operation – will supply 18 of the Co-op’s food stores in Cumbria. It is the largest contract win to-date for the brewery with a national convenience food operator.

Stuart Taylor, Director and Brewer at Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery Co, said:

“It is great news. We take great pride and passion in producing our beers and we are pleased to work with the Co-op which shares our passion for quality, locally produced products. Cumbria is our home, and our heartland, and the Co-op’s community-based approach extends our reach and availability – supporting our brand awareness and business development. We are often asked where our beers can be bought and the Co-op provides a great route to market, helping us to reach customers in areas where they may not previously have been able to buy our beers.”

In addition to breweries, local new local suppliers are: Kendal-based George Romney’s which has bagged a “sweet” contract to supply the community retailer. Romney’s – which marks its centenary next year and whose famous Kendal Mint Cake formed part of the high altitude ration for the first successful Mount Everest expedition of 1953 – will supply eight of its products to the Co-op, including its: hand-made butter fudge; after dinner mints; old fashioned treacle toffee and, its iconic mint cake.

Paula Barron, Director of Romney’s, said:

“As a Cumbrian-based business we are delighted to be working with the Co-op. The Co-op’s own ethos, history and values are a great fit for us. For residents and visitors alike it will enable people in our local communities to have access to buying locally produced Cumbrian confectionary.”

Kendal-based Ginger Bakers has won its contract less than six months after the baker – which marked its tenth anniversary last year and now employs seven people – moved to new purpose built premises with development kitchens to create new ranges and expand capacity. Ginger bakers will supply three of its products to the Co-op, its: chocolate brownies; caramel shortbread and, Ginger Jake – named after the founder’s son.

Lisa Smith, Founder of Ginger Bakers, said:

“We are delighted. The timing could not have been better. After we were devastated by floods we made a conscious decision to relocate to a bigger, purpose built facility in order to expand capacity and develop new ranges based on our traditional recipes – working with the Co-op extends our reach and opens up new markets for us for both residents and visitors to our area.”

Tea and coffee merchant, Farrer’s - which is the oldest independent coffee roaster in the country, established in 1819 – has “brewed-up” a contract which will now see it supply around 30 Co-op food stores across both Lancashire and Cumbria, its largest contract with a national retailer. Soon to mark its 200th anniversary, Farrer’s will supply two of its products, its: No. 1 Blend Cafetiere Grind Coffee and, its Lakeland Special Teabags – which have been specially blended for Cumbrian Lakeland water.

Simon Walsh, MD, Farrer’s, said:

“We are very happy to work with the Co-op, many people who try our drinks in the guest houses, restaurants and coffee shops of Cumbria are often keen to take our product home and, the Co-op’s own history – like ours, stretching back to the 1800’s, its ethos and local flavour not only compliments our brand, but helps Farrer’s to reach and serve new markets in our Cumbrian communities.”

While a Stavelely-based preserve maker has “potted” its first contract with a national retailer. Established in 2006, Cumbrian Delights will supply five of its products to 18 Co-op stores in the county, including its: damson jam and, chutney; its marmalade and, its Cumbrian hot spot – a chilli jam.

Geoff Monkman, founder of Cumbrian Delights, said:

“This is great news. We produce more than 50 jams and preserves in total, and working with the Co-op will help to “spread” our brand awareness further afield, we believe it will also have a beneficial knock-on effect for many of the farm shops and delis who offer other products from our range – this is our first contract of this size and we are delighted, with stores in many tourist areas, it will also help our business development through sales to visitors who come to our beautiful region.”

Charlotte Bleasdale, Ranging Manager for the Co-op in Cumbria, explained:

“It is the innovation, traditions, quality and passion which makes these prized and locally loved products - our customers tell us that food provenance really matters to them, quality, trust, convenience and value are key for consumers. Backing local produce is about much more than just ‘hanging out the bunting’ – Cumbrian food and drink is world-renowned and the Co-op, as a community retailer, is committed to investing in its local communities, supporting local economies and providing opportunities to showcase, support and celebrate great Cumbrian food and drink.”

Backing British is a cornerstone of the Co-op’s food strategy, the Co-op has pledged its support for British farming with a commitment to invest £2.5BN over the next three years (2017-19). In May the retailer announced that it would source only 100% own-brand British fresh meat – including lamb and bacon. The Co-op is also the only major retailer to use only British meat in all its own-branded chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches.

Media Contact:

Andrew Torr
Co-op Press Office
M: 07702 505 551
E: andrew.torr@co-operative.coop