Stockport-based brewer and pub operator has signed an unprecedented deal with Lake District craft brewery Hawkshead, to sell its beer in Robinsons pubs.
The deal marks the first between the Cheshire family brewers and any small brewer.
Hawkshead Brewery's Lakeland Lager will be sold, initially, in some of Robinsons 55 Cumbrian outlets, and by Robinsons into the free trade, from April.
Outside Hawkshead's own direct delivery, Robinsons will be the exclusive supplier of Lakeland Lager.
Oliver Robinson, Robinsons' commercial director, said he was delighted with the deal. "Following our great success with eight new keg lagers at the end of 2011 and more recently with a dozen new crafted bottled beers this was too good an opportunity to miss,"he said.
"Some of our Cumbrian pubs, like those in Ambleside and Bowness, in the heart of the Lake District, are among our best. Hawkshead Brewery is a very successful Lake District brewery and its Lakeland Lager is the perfect partner in these pubs to our Hartleys beers."
Alex Brodie, managing director of Hawkshead added: "People told me I was mad to try to get a guest beer into Robinsons, but the beer and the time were clearly right. Robinsons know the lager, they keg it for us, and their feedback about it has always been good.
"Hawkshead is primarily a cask ale brewery. Lakeland Lager is our first keg beer; we brewed it so that lager drinkers as well as ale drinkers could have a local alternative. This deal will help get it more widely sold."
Robinsons plan to offer Lakeland Lager to selected outlets, as a premium niche product.
"In tough trading times the public are looking for authentic local products," said David Bremner, Robinsons' director of Marketing.
"This beer is certainly that - brewed in the Lake District with Lakeland water and distributed locally. We are having success with premium products at the moment and - in the right pubs - partnerships like this can only be good for everyone."
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
E-mail your comments to Janie Manzoori-Stamford here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs