North Brewing Co heads east with China export wins

North Brewing Co. Picture by Chloe Chapman

Leeds brewer North Brewing Co has secured £96,000 worth of export orders from Chinese customers after exhibiting at China’s biggest trade show for the food and hospitality industry, Food & Hotel China (FHC).

The brewery attended the show on a Northern Powerhouse trade mission organised as part of the Food is GREAT campaign – the government initiative to help UK food and drink businesses sell their goods and services overseas.

The company started its exporting journey 18 months ago when it shipped its first international order to Ireland. It now exports to 17 countries.

Taking advantage of opportunities for growth is nothing new to North Brewing Co. Founded in 2015 to serve the emerging taste for craft beer in Leeds, the company quickly began selling its beers into supermarkets across the UK in June 2016, which saw its turnover rocket to £950k. It predicts exporting will help it to grow its turnover to £1.8m by the end of the 2018/19 financial year.

John Gyngell, director at North Brewing Co, said: “Chinese consumers have a growing thirst for international beer, with Shanghai and Hong Kong in particular developing a taste for overseas independent craft beers.

“Exhibiting at the FHC show with the support of Defra and DIT boosted our confidence in accessing the emerging opportunity we saw in the Chinese market. We attended the show with little idea of what to expect and left with a number of useful contacts and a clear idea of what our next steps should be.

“The road to China hasn’t been without its challenges. We had to accommodate for the extra shipping time and find partners that care about our beers as much as we do. We’ve made sure that our distributors are using cold chain refrigeration throughout their journey from Leeds direct to bars and shops in China.

“But there is support on hand from expert government trade advisers to help businesses overcome these challenges. I would encourage other local food and drink businesses like us to take the leap and sell overseas.”

Mark Robson, head of Yorkshire and the Humber at the Department for International Trade, said: “The latest export figures show that Yorkshire breweries are selling more and more products into China. From just £150,000 in 2012, the region sent £3.98 million worth of beverages to China in 2017.

“North Brewing Co is an excellent example of a firm that isn’t afraid to take the leap into new markets. Trade advisers on the ground here in Yorkshire can help with issues from navigating local laws and customs, to attending trade shows. The next UK trade mission to FHC departs in November – get in touch now, and your business could be the next to take advantage of this unmissable opportunity for growth.”


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