YORKSHIRE’S first Benedictine beer for hundreds of years is proving a huge hit with drinkers, Abbey bosses have said.

More than 4,000 bottles of Ampleforth Abbey Beer were sold in July, while two supermarket chains have signed deals to stock it and requests are coming in from around the world.

As reported in The Press earlier this year, Ampleforth Abbey teamed up with Little Valley Brewery in Hebden Bridge to produce a beer similar to those made famous by Trappist monasteries in Belgium.

Sean McFetrich, Ampleforth Abbey Trading’s director of commercial operations, said: “The beer has been very successful since its launch and we have been pleasantly surprised by the volume of sales to date.”

He said stock was available from July 4, and said in July they sold 368 cases or 4,416 bottles, with 55 per cent coming through the Abbey Shop, website, tea room, tours and shows.

Shops, delis and farm shops elsewhere have also sold the beer, and Booths supermarkets have it stocked in all stores. Mr McFetrich said Tesco would be stocking the beer in its Yorkshire stores from November.

He said: “We have had many other enquiries from other parts of the UK but we would like to try and consolidate our regional market first before expanding too widely or quickly. In the same vein we have had enquiries from, for example, France, Italy, Denmark and Taiwan about exporting but again it may be a while before we can start servicing that sort of market.”

The Benedictine community was given the right by Louis XIV to make the beer, and continued production in England after leaving France, but production here ended around the time when the monasteries were dissolved.