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Yorkshire pints being pulled in Portland as part of beer exchange

A 12m long refrigerated shipping container filled with beer from across the Northern Powerhouse regions will be shipped to Portland, Maine next month, as part of a beer exchange following last week’s Leeds International Beer Festival.

The beer exchange comes after the Maine Brewers’ Guild, a group of craft brewers from the US state of Maine, brought its “Maine Beer Box” to Leeds for the beer festival. The box is a custom-built container, complete with 78 beer taps and a fully self-contained draught system

Representatives of the Maine Brewers’ Guild attended the four-day festival over the weekend to experience first-hand why Yorkshire breweries are so popular. During the festival, guests enjoyed a selection of beers from 65 of Maine’s breweries.

The beer box will now be repacked with beer from across the North of England, with Leeds’ North Brewing Co already signed up to take part. The Northern Powerhouse beers will be featured at the Winter Session International Beer Festival in November where guests can quench their thirst with British craft beer.

Local brewers have up until the October 10 to get their beers in the box and take part in the trade mission to Portland, organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT), which takes place between the 4th to the 10th of November.

The latest export figures show that Yorkshire breweries are selling more products into the US market. The region’s beverage manufacturers almost doubled their overseas trade to the US from £4.9 million in 2012 to £8.8 million in 2017, according to HMRC data.

Last year alone saw exports of beer from the UK reach over £517 million, an increase of 126 per cent from the previous year.

The beer exchange is being supported by Food is GREAT, a UK government initiative led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and DIT to help UK food and drink businesses realise their potential abroad and establish their overseas presence.

Sean Sullivan, executive director of Maine Brewers’ Guild, said: “UK brewers are hugely influential within the American craft beer industry.

“This partnership is extremely exciting as we’ve been able to join forces with a region and bring back some of Yorkshire’s finest craft beers via our Maine Beer Box. We hope to continue this collaboration and it helps to influence the success we are having with craft beer in Maine.”

Stephen Noblett, International Trade Adviser Food & Drink Sector Specialist for DIT Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The Maine Beer Box exchange has been an incredible opportunity for brewers across Yorkshire to showcase what they have to offer an international audience.

“Maine is renowned for its craft beer tourism, so we are excited to have Yorkshire craft beer showcased in such a discerning and important craft beer market whilst at the festival in November.

“There has been a significant rise in the number of craft beer exports over the past year, a trend I hope will continue. We are seeing breweries benefitting from this beer boom across the region and with the right support, I know other brewers can reap the benefits of exporting to a global audience.

“We’re here to provide firms with support on all aspects of exporting, ranging from logistics to finding a buyer overseas from this growing demand in what is an exciting industry and I’d urge anyone thinking that exporting might be for them to get in touch with our team today.

“Our International Trade Advisers are able to provide to all types of businesses anywhere on their export journey. If Yorkshire craft brewers can export, so can you.”


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