Completing the transformation from micro-brewery to rapidly growing national beer producer, the team at Stockport-based 3 Rivers will soon be able to see their flagship brand, Manchester IPA, on the shelves of supermarket giant Tesco. On the back of initial discussions at a Meet The Buyer event, which took place in 2007, the award winning real ale brewer will supply Tesco with almost 2,000 500ml bottles of its smooth-bodied Manchester IPA (abv 4.2%), the classic amber coloured pale ale with distinctive, refreshing biscuit and citrus flavours.
Stocked as part of Tesco’s regional sourcing initiative, which aims both to celebrate local products and suppliers and to provide customers with more local choice, 3 Rivers’s most famous bottled real ale will be distributed through selected stores close to the brewery’s base in Reddish. Depending on sales figures and all important customer feedback, the Greater Manchester footprint may be extended throughout the North West in a deal that could potentially dwarf any other in the brewery’s history.
Mike Hitchen, founder, head brewer and Managing Director of 3 Rivers says: “I firmly believe that British beer is the best in the world and that some of the finest examples are brewed by smaller, regionally focused breweries that know their markets and brew specifically for the tastes of their public. In the past couple of years especially, supermarkets have recognised this quality and the increasingly discerning taste buds of their customers. We will certainly be raising a celebratory glass or two as our bottles hit Tesco’s shelves in a deal which proves we are increasingly able to hold our own with any of the industry’s bigger operations.”
Tesco’s North of England Marketing manager says: “It was great to meet Mike and taste his beers at the Meet the Buyer event last November. We enjoyed learning about Mike’s history in brewing and the 3 Rivers Brewery and are looking forward to its success within Tesco.”
This terrific opportunity for 3 Rivers comes during the brewery’s busiest ever sales period. Bucking the national trend for a decline in beer sales, 3 Rivers is working hard to open up new routes to market for its beers whilst capitalising on existing supply arrangements with licensed premises, off-licences and supermarkets where, in the case of its recently announced deal with Waitrose, it is smashing all of the initial sales targets it was set.