Gluten-free beer sees micro-brewery sales soar

Husband and wife team, Scott and Kirsty MacKenzie are seeing sales soar at their Ulverston Micro-brewery thanks to booming sales for its gluten-free beer.

The couple, who run Lakeland Inns, snapped up Stringers last year, after Scott spotted potential growth.

Following a £50,000 investment, the business is now brewing more than 4,000 pints a week and supplying 12 different ales to pubs and bars across the north-west.

Scott explains:

“Stringers had a solid decade of trading under its belt and had won high praise and awards for the beers it produced.

“The man who set up the business, Jon Kyme, is a very talented brewer – it is his life passion and he managed to turn his love for beer into a business.

“I’m delighted to say we have retained the services and skills of Jon, and have been able to introduce into Stringers, the business structure which comes with Lakeland Inns.

“The result has been a very enjoyable, and extremely successful period of trading since we took over.

“We have big ambitions for the future, but for now, we are happy to be successfully brewing and delivering 60 barrels a week to our customers – and of course selling our own beer across Lakeland Inns’ three pubs.”

Stringers is based out of a unit on the Low Mill Business Park in Ulverston. It brews a variety of beers including the enduringly popular Furness Gold, a 5.5% IPA and Stringers Blonde.

However, it is the brewhouse’s selection of gluten-free ales which has helped to propel the business to new levels.

The three beers sell out every week and comprise a 4.9% amber ale called The North; a pale, zesty 3.9% number called Plan B and a ruby-coloured 5.1% tipple called Turbine Porter.

Scott said:

“We have seen a massive surge in demand for the gluten-free beers which I suspect ties into a general increase in people searching for gluten-free options.

“The feedback we get is that the taste and experience from the gluten-free options is as good as a beer which has gluten in it.”

The exact mix of ingredients for the beers is a closely guarded secret, but they were devised by head brewer John and his wife Becky who is a qualified bio-chemist.

They are brewed with the gluten intact and it is then removed through a special process. All of the beers are tested and regulated to ensure they live up to their gluten-free claims.

With summer approaching, Scott is expecting a further surge in demand. He said:

“A lot of the weekly inventory will go straight to our three pubs; The Sun in Ulverston, The Black Cock in Broughton-in-Furness and The Commodore in Grange-over-Sands.

“Stringers’ ale is going to be in high demand which is great for the business and great for the team of staff who we have employed to help move us forwards.”