Westmalle Extra Commercial Release

8 March 2021

Westmalle Extra Header

After decades of consideration the Brethren at Westmalle have decided to release Westmalle Extra commercially for the first time. James Clay and Sons are honoured to work in partnership with them on this momentous launch in the UK, available immediately in cases of 24x330ml bottles (NRB & RB), and will be added to the core range.

Westmalle Extra is the beer provided to the monks of the Abbey of our Lady of the Holy Heart for consumption with their meals. A top fermented 4.8% golden ale designed to be thirst-quenching, full of fruity aromas, and full bodied. Brewed only with whole cone noble hops and, unlike the Tripel and Dubbel, without any brewing sugar additions. Extra is bottled unpasteurised, and is refermented in the bottle too. This beer was previously exclusively for the monks, with lucky guests of the abbey occasionally being offered a glass.

The commercial release of Westmalle Extra has a deep meaning for James Clay and Sons as a company. The beers produced by the abbey have been in our portfolio since the Eighties. Reflecting on the decision to list them from the early days, our founder, Ian Clay said ‘Westmalle beers stand out and if we were going to be serious about Belgian beer then Westmalle had to be in the range. Over the years we have got closer to the abbey and they have been enthusiastic to work with us to increase sales and ensure their beer is well presented and represented in the UK. It is without doubt an honour to have such great beers in our range.’

On his first visit to the Abbey Ian was invited to join the monks for lunch, including a glass of Extra. ‘It was perfect at lunchtime, refreshing, not too strong at 4.8% with plenty of flavour.’ To Ian it was immediately clear that this beer had applications to the UK market, explaining to the Commercial team that the intricacies of the duty levied on beer meant that a lower ABV trappist offering could perform extremely well.

However, at the time the monks felt that it would bring too much pressure on the production team, affecting their work/life balance, and mean extra environmental and noise pollution. Thankfully, they’ve since managed to figure out a way to bring Extra to commercial production, and remain faithful to their principles. Additionally, they have decided to use this release to help recovery in the hospitality and off trade, and not pursue Supermarket listings for Extra.

Westmalle Extra will be available in cases of 24x330ml bottles from James Clay and Sons, to all trade, from Tuesday the 16th of March.

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