ELECTED representatives have been learning about the importance of beer and cheese to the UK economy.

NFU Cymru and the NFU recently teamed up with the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group to highlight the importance of two great national products – British beer and cheese - to the UK economy.

To demonstrate the close links between farmers and brewers, the organisations hosted a beer and cheese tasting event for MPs at the House of Commons on January 16.

MPs were able to sample a range of beers made from British malting barley, as well as some of the 700 cheeses that are produced in Britain.

Beer and pubs generate £13 billion in tax revenue every year, while the total value of cheese sold in the UK in 2016 was £2.75 billion, with almost half of the cheese eaten being British.

Mike Wood MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, said: “The UK produces over 700 cheeses – more than France - and 10,000 different beers.

"Both are traditional agricultural products that trace their histories back thousands of years.

“This tasting in the House of Commons showed not only the enormous diversity of both British cheese and British beer, but how they are a match made in heaven - an Isle of Wight blue cheese with Suffolk ale; a West Midlands Brie with Scottish lager; or a London Porter with a smoked cheese from the North East - this was a mouth-watering eye-opener.”

NFU Cymru president Stephen James said: “Beer and cheese provide vitally important markets for British, and Welsh dairy and arable farmers both at home and abroad.

"Two million tonnes of British malting barley is grown every year – while around 25 to 30 per cent of the milk produced by dairy farmers is processed into cheese.

“We want MPs to understand the significance of both supply chains to the UK economy and to support British and Welsh farmers and brewers so they can remain competitive, sustainable and resilient.

"And, of course, one of the best ways to discuss this is over a pint of British beer.

“Wales was represented at the event by South Caernarfon Welsh Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar and Fullers Golden Pride beer. With great products like this available in Wales, shopping locally and getting our products home-grown has never been easier.”