Taking brands off the market is not usually seen as astute business practice but the decision to do so is now paying off for family brewer Bateman's. The range, which features Triple XB, Victory and the organic Yella Belly, was being handled by Marston's. When Marston's was taken over by Wolverhampton and Dudley Bateman's took the opportunity to get out of the agency agreement. Wholesale director Stuart Bateman said sales volumes of his beers dropped dramatically while they were with Marston's. "It became apparent that buyers had far more enthusiasm for speaking to brand owners rather than agents." At the same time a new look for the beers was being worked on but was not finished. Bateman decided to take them off the market until they were ready and take charge of selling them himself. "We had the simple objective of leapfrogging the competition with an outstanding range of bottled beers. Not only did the beer have to be good, but the presentation of it had to be good as well." The beers were out of circulation for four months. "When the new range was available for shipping it was anticipated it might take six months to build up a head of steam. But after four months the beers had won distribution and a surge in demand led to a short period when Triple XB and Yella Belly were out of stock. This has been rectified and major growth is expected." Stockists include Winerite, First Quench, the Co-op, Morrisons, Nisa, Parisa, Safeway, Sainsbury, Tesco and Unwins. For Christmas the brewer is introducing one of its successful on-trade styles Rosey Nosey. And another new brand is being planned for introduction early next year. {{DRINKS }}