The Inn Collection Group are set to scrum down ahead of kick off in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations this February, with a beer created by four professional rugby players now in stock across its estate of Inns.
Manuia Beer is the brainchild of Newcastle Falcons stars Carl Fearns, Logovi’i Mulipola, Will Welch and Michael Young who have embarked on building a new craft beer brand as a challenge away from the rugby pitch.
Previously only available at a small number of venues, Manuia will enjoy its first wide-scale distribution via The Inn Collection Group’s properties, with the drink available at all trading sites throughout the north of England and north Wales.
Launching with a 4.4% Pilsner named FiaFia, loosely translating from Samoan as ‘to be happy, to come together and to celebrate’ the foursome have embraced the heritage of Mulipola as a means of standing out in a competitive market.
The distinctive imagery of the brand draws heavily from the tribal pattern of the former Samoan international’s traditional tattoo and from the kava bowl, a hugely important symbol of hospitality, occasion, and tradition within the Samoan culture.
The venture has been created with the players working with Newcastle-based Full Circle Brew Co, with FiaFia the first in a planned range of beers under the brand.
Making use of Tango hops, it has traditional floral and grassy lager hop notes, with additional hints of stone-fruits and passionfruit providing the craft beer twist.
Available at The Inn Collection Group properties in 440ml cans initially, Manuia can also be supplied on draught, with the players aiming for their beers to be a drink that allows people to embrace their social side and to strengthen and develop relationships.
Welcoming FiaFia to The Commissioner’s Quay Inn at Blyth, The Inn Collection Group’s commercial manager Gary Turner said: “It’s great to get the guy’s beer into stock ahead of this year’s Six Nations. We like our rugby at The Inn Collection Group and I’m pleased that we are supporting this venture from lads who play for our local club.
“We like to embrace innovative new products and offer something different and Manuia ticks that box whilst also having the provenance of the beer being brewed in the north east at a Newcastle brewery.
“The branding is really strong, and I love the story around the Samoan culture being embraced to create that. I think it adds to the interest around what is a very enjoyable drink and I really hope we can help the guys promote a great product.”
Michael Young of Manuia and scrum half at Newcastle Falcons added: “We’re really happy to have FiaFia in stock across The Inn Collection Group. We love what they are doing as a company and it is great to introduce our drink to their customers.
“We first started looking at working with them after meeting Gary and Sean [Donkin, The Inn Collection Group’s managing director} at Falcons’ games and we’re really grateful that they’re offering this opportunity.
“The drink is one that we hope appeals to a wide range of people and being stocked across the North East, the Lake District, Yorkshire, Lancashire and North Wales gives us a great opportunity to introduce it to them.”