Gluten-free brewer is DEFRA’s exporter of the year

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Exporting: Andrea Leadsom with First Chop Brewing Arm
Exporting: Andrea Leadsom with First Chop Brewing Arm

Related tags: Beer

Independent Manchester brewer First Chop Brewing Arm has been recognised as the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) exporter of the year at its Food is Great event, hosted by environment secretary Andrea Leadsom last night (20 March).

The event, held at the Foreign Commonwealth Office in Westminster, was a showcase of the best British food and drink has to offer.

First Chop, which was founded by Richard Garner in 2012, brews about 10 gluten-free beers that are distributed across the world as well as in the UK.

Capacity increased

The production of the beers, which takes place in Manchester, started at 400 litres a month before capacity was increased to 5,000 litres a week in 2013.

Production will begin at a new brewery this month, capable of producing more than 20,000 litres a week.

It is the brewer’s evolution that impressed the judges, as well as its dedication to gluten-free.

Garner told The Morning Advertiser ​(MA​): “We started making good craft beer more than five years ago when I was having lots of great beer but it wasn’t from the UK, and I wanted to have the same great beers but from Britain.

“We didn’t set out to make gluten-free beer either, it just happened by chance that we used an ingredient that made the beer gluten-free.

Lot more to achieve

“It is great to have won this award and it really means a lot, but we have a lot more to achieve this year and in the future. We’re just a craft beer brewer that wants to produce great beers and they just happen to be gluten-free.”

British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds told MA ​it was great to see a beer winning the award as beer is worth £583m to the UK economy.

She added: “We are up over 6% in beer exports this year alone and the BBPA is playing its part engaging with and working with DEFRA to encourage more exports of beer.”

Related topics: Beer, Ale & Stout

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