‘You don’t have to be a brewing giant to access the likes of China’
The Maine Brewers’ Guild, a group of craft brewers from Maine, is bringing its ’Maine Beer Box‘– a custom-built, 12-metre long refrigerated shipping container, complete with 78 beer taps – to the Leeds International Beer Festival (September 6-9).
Once the festival closes, the box will be filled with Northern Powerhouse beers and shipped back to Portland, Maine. These beers will then feature at the city’s famous Guild’s Winter Session Beer Festival in November.
The exchange is just one initiative that demonstrates the growing worldwide interest in the UK’s craft beer market. Consumers in key markets have developed a taste for unique and premium British-stamped pints. Last year exports of beer from the UK totalled over £517m, an increase of 126 per cent from the previous year.
This is especially true across Yorkshire and the Humber. Companies including Ilkley Brewery, Baijiu Beer Company, Northern Monk and North Brewing Co are benefiting from exporting to countries such as the US and China, where demand for UK brewed beer is on the rise.
West Yorkshire’s Ilkley Brewery, for example, has made successful sales of Yorkshire-brewed beer to bars in Tennessee and Georgia.
Meanwhile, Leeds-based brewer North Brewing Co, which only started exporting 18 months ago, has this year secured £96,000 worth of orders from Chinese customers.
The brewery secured its Chinese orders after attending the Food & Hotel China trade mission in November last year. Thanks to its growing export business, it now has a projected turnover of £1.8m by the end of this financial year.
Each brewery’s success proves how there are opportunities for local SME brewers to take on large overseas markets.
It also shows that you don’t have to be a brewing giant to access the likes of China.
But while exporting offers lucrative opportunities for breweries, it also has challenges including logistics and language barriers.
When exporting alcohol, it’s important that businesses familiarise themselves with local standards and regulations, particularly when exporting to highly-regulated markets, such as China and the US.
Food and drink exported to China must be correctly labelled in Chinese, with the country of origin, the name and address of the Chinese distributor, weight, ingredients, date of production and expiry date. Products must also be approved by China’s Inspection and Quarantine agency before they reach the shelves.
In the US, ‘best before’ labels will need to be written with the month first and the date second. A small detail, but one that could have a detrimental effect on the success of a product in the
Firms should also be aware of the varying legal requirements from state to state and ensure that their products have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before exporting.
As part of the Food is GREAT campaign, the Department for the Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) offer a wealth of support to help British producers who are keen to explore markets overseas.
DIT has a team of experienced International Trade Advisers based in Yorkshire and the Humber on hand to assist ambitious businesses that want to start or develop their export strategy.