Popular craft beer Rascal London Porter is about to cause a splash in the burgeoning U.S. market, thanks to a deal between Perthshire based Inveralmond Brewery and Iron Horse Beverage.
Beginning at the end of March, Rascal will hit bars and retail stores in the USA, starting with New York and California. The agreement with Iron Horse Beverage puts Rascal in a highly competitive but fast-growing craft beer market. There are now more than 4,000 active breweries in the United States, with two opening per day, according to the Brewers Association. That is thought to be the highest number since the 1870s.
Rascal, a rich dark beer with a 5.6% ABV, forms part of Inveralmond’s Inspiration Series. Iron Horse Beverage will bring two more beers from the series to the USA in the coming months: the Czech pilsner inspired brew Sunburst and Belgian Abbey beer inspired De Mons.
The Iron Horse/Inveralmond deal is one of the first to come out of Showcasing Scotland, a meeting of 100 Scottish food and drink companies and 140 international buyers last October. Organised by Scotland Food & Drink, Scottish Development International, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise, the event took place at Gleneagles as part of Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015.
Susan Beattie, head of food and drink at Scottish Development International, said: “It’s great to hear that the connections we made at Showcasing Scotland, and Inveralmond Brewery’s hard work in following up this event, have paid off. We know that there is strong interest in craft beer from US consumers and Scotland is well placed to respond with high quality products from companies like Inveralmond.”
The man behind Rascal’s U.S. launch, Cliff Morello, took Grolsch to the USA. He launched Iron Horse Beverage in 2004 and supplies beers to 35 states. In what he calls a “cut-throat, very competitive” market, Morello said he was looking for a product that would stand out.
Morello, Chief Executive Officer and President of Iron Horse Beverage, commented:
“When I started in this business there were 65 breweries in the USA. Now there are over 4200 with probably another 1800 coming. Craft beers have 15% of the market. The number one craft beer in the USA is the IPA, whereas not everybody has a Porter.”
Rascal has a combination of a spicy aroma and silky palate and is inspired by the mighty brewing styles of 18th century London. The London Porter is named after the porters who moved goods on and off ships and around London’s city streets.
Bob Hogg, commercial director for Inveralmond Brewery, commented:
“Rascal has been a great hit in the UK and we fully expect it to cause a stir in the USA. We believe its interesting combination of flavours makes it unique in the market. The same can be said for our whole Inspiration Series, which we’re delighted to see launched into an exciting and fast-growing craft beer sector in the USA. We’re also happy to see a positive outcome from Showcasing Scotland and last year’s Year of Food & Drink Scotland celebration.”
As well as being sold in the UK on-trade and off-trade, Rascal London Porter has been shipped to Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and Italy. The brand will get an extra marketing boost in March when it hits the shelves of Aldi in Scotland as part of the supermarket chain’s Scottish Beer Festival, an in-store showcase of Scottish breweries beginning on March 10th and available while stocks last.
Rascal won Champion Beer at the 2015 World’s Biggest Ale Festival, run by JD Wetherspoon, before it was officially launched. As a result it was featured on JD Wetherspoon’s national guest ale list during July and August 2015.