New export strategy to boost British beer by £100m

A new export strategy, unveiled yesterday at Fuller’s Griffin Brewery in Chiswick by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), aims to increase British beer exports by £100 million over the next five years.

The BBPA estimates that beer exports are currently worth around £600 million per year, making it the UK’s third biggest food and drink export after Scotch whisky and chocolate.

The export strategy is part of the government’s International Action Plan which aims to create opportunities for the UK’s food and drink exporters. A series of measures will now be implemented by the BBPA and brewers alike.

Entitled the ‘British Beer Export Strategy 2017 – 2022’, which can be read in full here, a series of measures will now be put in place to ensure the desired export growth is achieved.

Firstly, there will be a new ‘export hub’ on the BBPA website that aims to put British brewers in contact with potential buyers overseas.

This hub will include “country profiles on the top beer export target markets” and in particular, will provide labelling information requirements, which, according to the BBPA, has been identified “as the number one trade barrier for many brewers”. It will also include other useful information and statistics including details about the market size.

Users of the hub will also have access to BBPA’s new ‘best practice guide’ which has been written to ensure the British beer consumed oversees is served in the state that the brewer intended.

The strategy also includes a proposal of industry collaboration at five key trade events in selected markets in 2018 and 2019 with assistance from the government. In addition, the beer industry will be working closely with the Department for International Trade (DIT), Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and “devolved administrations to identify additional government sponsored outward and inward missions, which could provide a major exporting opportunity for beer”.

The BBPA will also be “liaising closely” with the government, working towards free trade agreements, helping to break down trade barriers, ensuring “frictionless trade with the EU”, and creating “an agenda of regulatory reform”.

In 2016, exports of beer rose by 5.8% to six million hectolitres. Sales within the EU increased by 5.3% while those to the rest of the world grew by 6.5%.

Ensuring “frictionless trade with the EU” is important given that the European Union comprises 63% of total export volume. Outside of the EU, more beer is sent to the USA than all of the non-EU nations combined.

The BBPA has earmarked China as a target market as in 2016 it saw a 500% increase in volume, making it the second largest non-EU market and sixth overall. As well as China, “significant growth” has also been seen in India, Israel, Russia and Norway.

At a recent talk on hops hosted by Hogs Back Brewery, Paul Corbett, managing director of hop merchants Charles Faram, told the drinks business that the British cannot currently sell hops to China as no protocol for it existed. He said that they “were working hard to get this changed”.

Commenting on the new strategy, food minister George Eustice said: “British beer is one of our food sector’s greatest success stories – with nearly £600 million worth exported to countries as far afield as Japan and New Zealand.

“This is the first sector-specific strategy to launch since our ambitious export plan last year – testament to the hard work of the British Beer and Pub Association – and will put us in a strong position to boost international trade when we leave the EU”.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds added: “We are launching an ambitious strategy for British beer exports from 2017 to 2022. Beer exports were worth £583 million in 2016, third on the list of food exports from the UK. Our brewers produce thousands of fine beers, many in styles unique to Britain.”

“With the right strategy in place, there are real opportunities for growth. This builds on work already done, through the Government’s own food and drink strategy, and shows that through working together and sharing best practice, we can boost British beer exports and overcome existing barriers to trade”.

2 Responses to “New export strategy to boost British beer by £100m”

  1. As a new business importing British beer to France, I can confirm that it is well received by French drinkers as well as expats, who find the French offering boring and the Belgian alternatives over strenghted and over flavoured. Many brewers here try to replicate the British styles and flavours, but with limited success, probably due to the water. My concern was that Brexit might impact negatively on my fledgling enterprise, but the above is good news if it has the desired effect. The most important aspect for me is the continued access to the small breweries relief on duty, which France applies up to the full 200,000Hl annual production threshold, but which Britain restricts to only 30,000Hl, thereby penalising its own industry contrary to EU legislation – the opposite to one of the main reasons many people voted to leave.

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