Left to right: Co-op beer buyer, Richard Dennett; Co-op members Sam Dineley and Tom Packman; Robinsons head brewer, Martyn Weeks
The three beer styles chosen are brewed with spring water from the Peak District National Park, which purifies as it filters down through the sandstone and collects in the well which sits underneath Robinsons Brewery.
There is Golden Ale (4% ABV), IPA (4.5%) and Triple Hop (5.5%), the first two coming in 500ml bottles and the latter in a 330ml bottle.
Richard Dennett, beer buyer at Co-op, said: “Beer sales are incremental to the BWS (beer, wines and spirits) category at Co-op and in a space of 400-plus products we are continuously working on new and exciting ways to bring products to market.
“2016 was a big year for Co-op as we invested in building our local sourcing strategy for beer as we continue to champion British. Local craft beers were introduced to stores across the UK and a local ale and cider plan was implemented in West Country, East Anglia and Wales.”
Kate Flanagan, export and off-trade sales manager for Robinsons Brewery, said: “It’s very encouraging to see the increasing focus that retailers like Co-op have on locally-sourced regional produce, but also engaging their customers in the production process, or in this case the taste testing.
“Inviting customers to have their say prior to the product being produced not only helps with real time customer feedback, which, in turn, informs the production process, but it also means that when the product is launched everyone owns it; not just the brand owner, which is extremely powerful and engaging.”
As part of its re-launched membership proposition last year, Co-op introduced ways to give members a greater say in the Co-op they own. A series of opportunities have been running since then for members to work together with their Co-op to create and develop the products and services that they value.
Some 400 Co-op members applied to take part within 30 minutes of the opportunity going live and 100 members were selected on a first come, first serve basis. The selected members were sent a sample of the three beers and responded with their own tasting notes. Through an in-depth analysis of how the tasting notes compared to the beers, three were selected to be used on the bottle labels and shelf edge labels.