SOUTH Shropshire’s award-winning Wood Brewery is gearing up to increase business by appointing James Owens as Sales Manager.

James joins the Wistanstow brewery in his home county of Shropshire after a successful career in national consumer magazine publishing, computer software and digital sound equipment sales in the UK and northern Europe.

He is one of three key appointments at the brewery. Former assistant brewer Andrew Pinnock becomes Head Brewer to replace the just-retired Paul Benson and the assistant’s post is filled by Sam Lane, who originally joined Wood’s on a six-month work experience contract.

“I’ve enjoyed drinking traditional beers for years and to be able to work close to home for an award-winning brewery is tremendous for me,” said James.

“I’m finding the ins and outs of the brewing process fascinating, and I’m very much looking forward to meeting established customers and to building links with new outlets.”

He will help to expand sales beyond the brewery’s tradition heartland.

“James has the sales experience and the interest in our beers to expand our customer base of licensed outlets across the Midlands, North West and Wales and to develop new business with wholesalers, agencies and major retailers,” said managing director Edward Wood,

“We’re delighted to have recruited him, and on the brewing side, I’m confident that Andrew and Sam will maintain the quality and consistency that is essential to the beers we produce.”

Wood’s was at the forefront of the ‘real ale revolution’ when it started brewing in the old stables next to the Plough Inn, Wistanstow, in 1980.

It has grown steadily to maintain its position as one of the county’s leading small independent brewers. The family-owned brewery is known for its best-selling Shropshire Lad and Shropshire Lass and has won a host of awards with these and other beers.