Eccles brewery has Co-op contract “in the can”

Eccles-based brewer First Chop, whose business bounced back 12 months ago from a devastating fire, has secured a contract to supply Co-op food stores in the region.

First Chop has its largest deal in the “can” with a convenience retailer, supplying over 40 of the Co-op’s food stores with four of its small-batch produced craft ales, which are now in store.

The deal comes as First Chop launches its new-look, and accelerates its move into canned ales to meet rising demand.

Rik Garner, Founder of First Chop, said: “This is great news, following the fire we had to start again from scratch, and so this deal has come at a perfect time to support our business development with visibility and reach across the region in the Co-op.

“It also coincides with rising demand for canned ale which is seeing a renaissance, after being out of favour for many years consumers now understand that quality, craft ale comes in cans.”

First Chop is supplying four of its canned ale to the Co-op, “Hop”; “Jam”, “Pop” and “AVA” – named after Rik’s daughter.

Simon Dryell, Head of Local Sourcing at the Co-op, explained: “We are delighted to work with First Chop. Locally brewed ale is an exciting category, where we see continued sustainable growth as craft ale followers look for something that tastes different, while retaining the passion, history and tradition that goes into brewing quality ales. As a community retailer, the Co-op is committed to investing in its local communities, exploring new ways to showcase, celebrate and support great quality locally produced food and drink.”

The Co-op is also main sponsor of Manchester Beer Week – running from this Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 8.

The community retailer will stock the limited edition official Manchester Beer Week ale – called Summer Pale Ale. Brewed by a cross-pennine collaboration between JW Lees, Manchester, and Northern Monk, Leeds, bottles of the official Manchester Beer Week ale will be available exclusively in Co-op food stores across the region for a limited time.