Wrexham Lager served on Titanic

The Welsh beer served on the ill-fated Titanic back in 1912 could be back on the ocean wave, in the bars of the planned Titanic 2, due to be launched in two year’s time.

Casks of Wrexham Lager were loaded aboard the great ship which sank after hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic on its maiden voyage over 100 years ago.

Wrexham Lager itself sank 12 years ago and the land where the brewery stood is now a retail park but the famous beverage was resurrected in 2011 and now plans are in place to start supplying its most famous customer when it makes a comeback.

Director Mark Roberts is due to give an update on the marketing of the iconic lager, the first to be brewed in the UK back in 1881, at the North East Wales Food Conference at Glyndwr University on Monday, April 14.

The event, which is for food producers from Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham, is organised by rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd and Northern Marches Cymru and paid for through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) through the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Plan.

Donna Hughes, Local Food Project Officer for Northern Marches Cymru, said: “The rebirth of Wrexham Lager has been a fantastic and inspirational story and shows the possibilities for high quality food products made by people who are passionate about what they do.

“They have come a long way in a very short time and now with the ability to increase production and with the prospect of exciting new markets they can look forward to further growth.”

Wrexham Lager story. Managing Director Mark Roberts with Donna Hughes, of Wrexham Northern Marches at the Brewery in Wrexham

Mark Roberts said: “An Australian mining billionaire, Clive Palmer, plans to build a new Titanic 2 and we got to hear about it and the fact that they were looking to use original suppliers if possible.

“They have signed up the original brandy and champagne houses and we thought it was only right that they should have the original lager suppliers too.

“Wrexham Lager was popular aboard ships because it travelled well and kept its flavour and it was served aboard the White Star liners of which the Titanic was the flagship.

“We have been in touch with the new Blue Star Line which will own the Titanic 2, we’ve sent them samples and they have been very positive about using us.”

In an e-mail James McDonald, of Blue Star Line, said: “I have been able to have some of the beers put on ice and managed to sample a couple. We all agree they are fantastic.

“We could discuss more about Titanic 2 licensing and availability to be the official beer of the Titanic 2.”

Mark Roberts said: “One of our problems has been capacity but that looks to have been solved now thanks to Wrexham Council which has just granted us planning permission for new storage tanks for maturing the beer.

“At the moment we can only produce 5,000 gallons a week but with the new tanks we could do 60,000 gallons a week and that means we can guarantee supply.

“That will open up plenty of new opportunities for us but we are busy marketing on social media and by word of mouth and we’re really pleased with the response.

“Wrexham Veterans rugby team are going to Chicago this summer and we’ll be taking some there with us so we could have more overseas markets to report on soon and we have had a lot of interest from ex-pat communities.

“When the brewery closed it had been sold to Carlsberg and they really reduced the quality of it but we’re back now, brewing it at the original strength of four per cent and maturing it properly.”

Mark’s brother, Vaughan – the family team that put the bubbles back into Wrexham Lager was completed by brother John and sister Janet Gaffey – is keen to stress the quality of the product.

“We have former head brewer Ian Dale in charge and we’ve got state of the art equipment made in Bamburg by Kaspar Schulz, Germany’s oldest maker of brewing equipment with over 300 years of experience,” he said.

“This is now an artisan craft beer and we’re keen to market it around the world again – it was one of the first beers to be exported widely because it kept its quality.

“They even found a bottle of it at Khartoum in the Sudan after General Gordon and his men were massacred there in 1885.”

The Food Conference starts at 6pm, on Monday, April 14, at the Catrin Finch Centre, at Glyndwr University, with a free, locally-sourced buffet and as well as Mark Roberts, other key speakers will include Andrew Martin, Welsh Government Senior Business Development Manager and responsible for food festivals and food centres across North and Mid Wales, Jonathan Cope of The Chunky Cheese Company, Jon Les Tomos of Mold Food Festival, and Llior Radford of Llaeth Y Llan.

Cadwyn Clwyd Agri-Food Officer Robert Price said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for food producers from across the area to learn how to take the next step up into finding new markets for their products.

“North East Wales has some of the richest and most diverse food and it really is the garden of Wales so it has everything going for it and this conference aims to help our producers find new customers.”

To register to attend contact Donna Hughes, on 10978 298381 or e-mail info@northernmarchescymru.co.uk.

For more information on Northern Marches Cymru projects go to www.northernmarchescymru.co.uk and for Cadwyn Clwyd projects ring 01824 705802, e-mail info@cadwynclwyd.co.uk or go to http://www.cadwynclwyd.co.uk


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