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St Peter's Brewery's Mexican surprise

PUBLISHED: 11:57 06 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:16 16 September 2010

AN ale has taken Mexican drinkers by storm, to the surprise of brewery chiefs.

St Peter's Brewery in St Peter South Elmham has found a new and lucrative market in Mexico, where drinkers have taken a liking to two of its bottled stouts, Cream Stout and Honey Porter.

AN ale has taken Mexican drinkers by storm, to the surprise of brewery chiefs.

St Peter's Brewery in St Peter South Elmham has found a new and lucrative market in Mexico, where drinkers have taken a liking to two of its bottled stouts, Cream Stout and Honey Porter.

Gold medal winner in the International Beer Competition 2003 and 2004, the Cream Stout has proved particularly popular, despite being relatively strong at 6.5pc ABV.

Its overseas success came as a surprise to staff at the brewery when the orders started to flood in.

Managing director Colin Cordy said: “When we were invited about three years ago to send some samples to Mexico we thought that probably some of our lighter in colour and less strong beers would be popular, because usually in hot countries they tend towards a very clear beer. It's strange that the two beers that are selling the most there are these two.”

He added: “It's all new business for us, which is good.”

St Peter's ships a container-load of the two ales to Mexico every month, totalling 15,000 pints - 70pc of which is Cream Stout. The biggest outlet for the ales is Wal-Mart, which sells them in about 200 stores across Mexico.

Thanks to the surge in uptake of the ales, Mexico now stands at number six in the brewery's 28 export markets, with the US at number one. More than 90pc of the brewery's ale is bottled, the remainder being for cask beer, with over half of its bottle volume being exported.

Mr Cordy said he believed the explanation lay in overseas customers experimenting with drinks that have not traditionally been on sale in their country.

“I think in a lot of countries people are realising that English ale is really tasty,” he said. “They are used to lager, which in the main tends to be quite bland in taste - although refreshing, they are not particularly tasty. Our ales have got lots of really nice coffee and chocolate flavours.”

He said the company had made a “really strong” start to the financial year, which began on March 1. “Our volume is 20pc up on that time period for last year,” he said. ”Much of that is on the back of our export trade.”

He added: “At last America has woken up after two quiet years because of the recession, which is really good news.”

While continuing to do well with its bottled exports, he said this year the company had branched out successfully with its launch of the exportation of keg beer, which enables bars in foreign countries to sell it on tap.

The news comes as the number of real ale drinkers in East Anglia has almost doubled in the past two years, according to new research by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

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