Three breweries and a tea maker are among a host of producers in the region to raise a glass, and a cup, to new contract wins with the Co-op.
The move will see nine businesses supply a new range of over 20 products as the Co-op extends its local sourcing programme across its stores in the North East.
The Co-op is to stock the new range in approaching 60 of its food stores across the region.
Brewers involved in the programme include the Tyne Bank Brewery, which moved to an old Victorian warehouse on Walker Road last September after successfully crowd-funding and attracting over 360 small investors.
Tyne Bank estimates that the deal could be worth an estimated 100,000 pints to the award-winning brewery over a 12 month period, and it will supply three of its ales to approaching 60 Co-op food stores in the region, its: Monument Ale; Motueka Blonde and Northern Porter.
Julia Austin, a former Chemical Engineer, fell in love with craft breweries on a holiday in Vancouver and, founded the Tyne Bank brewery in 2011. She said, “We are delighted, the Co-op are lovely store to be in, and it feels like a real partnership approach with the Co-op. It gives our customers a chance to buy beer where they could not previously get it.
'The move really does support local breweries, as a smaller business it’s important to find these partnerships, and supplying the Co-op opens up new markets, raises awareness of our brand and helps to build our business.”
Northumberland-based Allendale Brewery is to supply five of its ales to the Co-op: Pennine Pale; Wagtail; Tall Stories; Wayfarer and Wilderness. And, the Sonnet 43 Brew House, from Coxhoe, County Durham, which will supply its Raven Bourbon Milk Stout; Seraphim Blonde Beer and, Abolition Amber Ale.
The famous Jesmona “Old Fashioned Black Bullets” sweets – believed to have originated in the North East at the turn of last century will also be stocked in almost 60 stores. Along with Beanies flavoured coffee of Darlington which will supply its Amaretto; Choc Orange and Irish Cream flavour instant coffee. Manomasa Snacks from Gateshead, established in 2012 will supply the Co-op with three of its tortilla snacks.
Kenspeckle Northumbrian Confectionary will supply its vanilla fudge; vanilla toffee and cinder toffee coal. Northumberland Tea will supply tea bags –supported by family-friend and brand ambassador Jack Charlton OBE its packs state it is the “best cup since 1966”. And, Consett-based Love Popcorn will supply is Origonal Salty Sweet and, Fiery Salsa popcorns.
Helen Logan of Northumberland Tea, said: “We’re delighted to have agreed a deal with the Co-op that will see Northumberland tea in stores ranging from Teesside to Berwick, which will extend the tea’s reach to many new areas and tea lovers across the north.
“The Co-op is at the heart of community life and this development raises awareness of our brand and reaches new markets. We sold our small café business to look after my father, who lost his battle with cancer in 2012 and then decided to set up Northumberland Tea.
'We drank so many cuppas during my father’s illness that we felt well qualified! This contract is another huge milestone for us, and will help us to raise further funds to support the wonderful work that is carried out by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation finding better ways to detect and treat cancer.”
Charlotte Bleasdale, Ranging Manager for the Co-op in the North East, explained, “It is the innovation, traditions, quality and passion which makes these prized and locally loved brands - our customers tell us that food provenance really matters to them – with quality, trust, convenience and value key for consumers.
'Backing local produce is about much more than just ‘hanging out the bunting’ – as a community retailer, the Co-op is committed to investing in its local communities, supporting local economies and providing opportunities to showcase, support and celebrate great food and drink from the North East.”
Hannah Keating, Co-op Buyer for Local Produce - talking about working with local breweries, added, “Locally produced ale is an exciting category - we see significant potential for sustainable growth, and we are delighted to champion these beers which use local ingredients and are brewed with pride and passion to deliver consistently great quality and taste.”
Backing British produce is a cornerstone of the Co-op’s food strategy. In May the retailer announced that it would source only 100% own-brand British fresh meat – including lamb and bacon. The Co-op is also the only major retailer to use only British meat in all its own-brand chilled ready meals, pies and sandwiches.