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Virgin Trains’ beer helps family-run baking business take off

Press Release   •   Oct 27, 2016 00:01 BST

Claire Bowes Fairless uses Virgin Trains' Hop on Board beer to bake bread

Virgin Trains’ Hop on Board beer is proving to be an important ingredient in the rise of a bread-baking business in the North East.

Claire Bowes Fairless was inspired to bake with the Yorkshire-brewed tipple when she tasted it after visiting one of Virgin Trains’ popular monthly Pop Up Shop events for small businesses at Darlington station on the east coast route.

Family-run business, Jar House, which sells bread and bread-baking kits say that their beer-inspired loaves are now best sellers and have attracted orders from across the UK.

They will be teaming up with Virgin Trains for the latest Pop-Up Shop event tomorrow at Darlington station where customers buying her beer-inspired bread can get a free bottle of Hop on Board ale as part of a special promotion.

Claire, who is from Middlesbrough, said: “There has been a boom in hand crafted beers and micro pubs while the British public love baking bread, not least following the phenomenal success of the TV show The Great British Bake-off.

“I’ve always liked to buy a beer from the places I visit – and I’ve found that bread tastes best when you bake it with a bottle of beer!

“When Virgin Trains’ staff at Darlington told me that the company serves its own Hop on Board beer on-board its trains, I thought I would see how this tasted when baking a loaf – and they’ve proved so popular that I’m now going to launch a range of ‘beer biscuits’ and cookie-making kits.

“The Pop Up Shop events are very popular with my customers and it’s great that a big company like Virgin Trains is helping small companies like mine. It’s even helped by sending orders on its trains as far as London and Edinburgh.”

Jennie Pitt, Employee Engagement & Corporate Responsibility Manager for Virgin Trains on its east coast route , said: “Since launching our Pop Up shops last year, we’ve helped support dozens of local independent retailers by offering them a market stall environment within busy train stations, such as Darlington and York, where they can interact with thousands of potential customers.

“We’re delighted that our Hop on Board beer has risen to the challenge of helping Claire’s business grow.”


Notes to Editors

The next Virgin Trains Pop Up shop event will take place in Darlington station concourse on Friday 28 October from 10.00-16.00, and on Saturday 29 October from 09.00-14.00.

Hop on Board is a Golden Ale which is brewed for Virgin Trains by the Rudgate Brewery near York. For more information on Hop on Board ale visit:

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The combined network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, York and London.

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