Oxfordshire-based brewer Wychwood is trialling a new positioning for its Manns Brown Ale, where the beer is used as a mixer with a selection of spirits.

The concept is initially being tested in the on-trade in its heartland of the north west, and the brewer will use the feedback to look at the potential of wider off-trade distribution next year.

Wychwood has previously recorded off-trade sales growth for the brand throughout the winter months, which it attributes to shoppers using the ale in recipes such as stews and fruit cakes. "As more homes have Manns in stock, Wychwood thought it would look at a selection of spirits with which it could be partnered," said a spokesman. "This goes back to the brand's roots in 1902 when it was launched specifically as a mixer with spirits and other beers."

Trials will include Manns with a shot of Tia Maria, for a coffee flavour; Grand Marnier, for a caramelised orange taste; and Pernod, to add a hint of aniseed.