Shepherd Neame is making a return to the US

Shepherd Neame is making a return to the US

UK brewer Shepherd Neame has signed a five-year distribution deal with Moosehead Breweries to supply its beers to the US and Canada. 

The Kent-based group's flagship brew, Spitfire, will be released in North America in September, with further roll-outs planned in 12 months, it said yesterday (26 July). It will be the first time in 13 years that Shepherd Neame has sold its beers in the US. 

Canada's Moosehead claims to be the country's "oldest independent brewery". 

It comes after Shepherd Neame yesterday announced a restructure, off the back of signing a new logistics deal

Shipments of Spitfire have gone out this week and “phase 1” of sales will focus on the US East Coast, followed by the Mid-West, including Chicago and Michigan. 

“We are very excited about this and the intial feedback we've had has been excellent,” Olly Scott, Shepherd Neame's export manager, told just-drinks today. 

The Spitfire sold in the US will be the same liquid sold in the UK, with an abv of 4.5%, Scott confirmed. 

Moosehead Breweries vice president for sales & marketing, Jim Eagles, added: “We know our customers have huge affection for Spitfire Ale, it’s a quintessential English ale which is supported by a very cheeky marketing campaign that really resonates with people."

Bishops Finger is expected to be the second beer released into the markets this time next year. 

The group previously sold its beers in the US between 1996 and 2001 through Westwood Importing, before the distributor went out of business. 

Shepherd Neame exports to 25 countries, including Sweden, Norway, France, Italy, Brazil, China and Australia.  Scott described Sweden as the "engine room" of its export business.