With premium beers drawing significant interest, Boutique Beers, the specialist component of Matthew Clark’s beer portfolio, could grow to account for 20% of the company’s overall beer turnover by 2020 – up from 8.5% at present. So says Justin Wylde, category manager for beer, cider and soft drinks, and architect of both Matthew Clark's Boutique Beer and Perfectly Picked Cider portfolios.
Speaking exclusively to Imbibe at Matthew Clark’s Boutique Beers Festival in London’s Hyde Park last week, where the new ranges were launched, Wylde said the Boutique Beers collection had grown by 40% over the last year. Thirty new beers have been added in, taking the total to 160, while the number of ciders in the Perfectly Picked range has grown from 38 to 60. A quarter of Matthew Clark’s customer base has ordered from the Boutique Beers portfolio, up from a fifth last year.
Freedom Brewery and By The Horns Brewing Co are among the new Brits joining the clan, with the latter offering a trio, including the much-honed version of its distinctive original beer, Stiff Upper Lip Pale Ale (3.8%).
From America comes a quartet from Colorado’s Crazy Mountain Brewing Co, including a sophisticatedly dialled down Creedance Pilsner (4.9%), plus a number of new beers on draught, including Goose Island’s iconic IPA (5.9%) and Blue Point Brewing Co’s satisfying Toasted Lager (5.5%).
Rotthammer from Chile makes its UK debut with three beers on draught, our favourite being the well-flavoured Real Golden Ale (5.5%), a dead cert at the barbie. Meanwhile closer to home, Collesi joins the fold from Italy with a trio of unpasteurised beers tasting and looking good in prosecco-shaped bottles both large and small. Definitely check out the elegantly-bottle conditioned Ambrata Amber Ale (7.5%).
New names in the Perfectly Picked Cider range include America’s Angry Orchard Crisp Apple (5%) and single-variety Sxollie from South Africa, pronounced Skollie (4.5%). Its refreshingly accessible, 100% juice cider exists in three varieties, and you can now find the Golden Delicious one over here.
From the UK, Sheppy’s from Somerset arrives with draught versions of its Somerset Draught Cider (5.5%) and Old Conky Cider (5%), alongside fellow Perfectly Picked newcomers, Sandford Orchards and Thistly Cross Cider.
In a refreshing change to normal cider lists, the Perfectly Picked brochure includes information on the type of apples used; for example Sheppy’s Somerset Draught is made with bittersweet and dessert varieties.
Matthew Clark, 0344 822 3910 (England & Wales), 0141 429 0888 (Scotland)