‘You don’t have to be a brew­ing gi­ant to ac­cess the likes of China’

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - Stephen Noblett

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

US.

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.

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