Award-winning Sunderland beer proves it has the bottle
A brewery has twin reasons to toast the success of one of its latest creations.
Raspberry Porter, made by Sunderland's Maxim Brewery, will be enjoyed by drinkers nationwide as part of pub giant JD Wetherspoon's new spring beer festival.
The 5% dark beer's award-winning popularity as a cask beer has also prompted the brewery to produce it in bottles for the first time as well.
Managing director Mark Anderson said: "It is something for our brewers to be proud of because you never know for certain how a new beer is going to be received when it is first released."
Raspberry Porter was initially produced for the first time at the end of 2017 and it quickly picked up a gold medal for the best cask speciality mid to dark beer at the Society of Independent Brewers' (SIBA) 2018 North East Independent Beer Awards.
Wetherspoon has now ordered 45,000 pints for its pubs across the country as part of its ongoing beer festival until Sunday, April 7.
Maxim Brewery, formed by executives from Sunderland's historic Vaux Breweries, now hopes Raspberry Porter can become an established national brand alongside familiar mainstays such as Double Maxim and Samson.
Mr Anderson said: "It is an honour for the team here for the beer to appear at the Wetherspoon beer festival.
"This is what Vaux used to do. They would release seasonal beers such as Waggle Dance, see if they would do well, bottle them and watch them go on the national stage."
The Wetherspoon order comes at a frantic time for Maxim Brewery, based at Rainton Bridge, as it continues producing 20 beers to mark two decades since the city centre Vaux Breweries closed in July 1999 with the lose of around 700 jobs.
Featuring new creations and old favourites, the list includes the return of Vaux's Gold Tankard as an anniversary ale this summer.
Raspberry Porter bottles are available from the Maxim Brewery shop at its Gadwall Road premises.