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Harrogate gin maker meets Chinese buyers at major trade show

Harrogate’s Slingsby Gin has brought a taste of Yorkshire to new international buyers at Asia’s largest food innovation exhibition, SIAL China, in Shanghai.

One of the biggest food tradeshows in the world, SIAL China attracts more than 110,000 visitors and 3,400 exhibitors annually. Slingsby Gin showcased its range of traditionally made gins at a dedicated Food is GREAT Gin Bar in SIAL’s UK Pavilion.

The Food is GREAT campaign is a cross-departmental initiative between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT). The campaign aims to showcase UK food and drink overseas, and to help businesses export.

Slingsby Gin was launched in 2015 and is produced by Spirit of Harrogate. The company sells to overseas markets including New Zealand, Germany, Malta, Finland, Denmark and Croatia and continues to work closely with Defra and DIT to target new foreign market opportunities.

During the trade show, John Edwards, British Consul-General of Shanghai gave key industry attendees a tour of the UK Pavilion to allow them to get a taste of British produce. The tours were also streamed live on WeChat to 9,000,000 consumers across China, the country’s most popular messaging and lifestyle app.

To promote the provenance and high quality of British gin ahead of the show, Defra and DIT also hosted two events where Chinese buyers got the chance to taste-test UK gin and learn how to mix their own cocktails.

The two events took place in Sukhothai Hotel in Shanghai and the Beijing Expo, and featured a botanical bar including juniper berries, and coriander seeds which proved to be a very popular attraction with visitors.

Here contestants used British gin, to mix their creations as finalists battled it out for the winning title at SIAL.

Mark Robson, head of region, Yorkshire and the Humber at DIT, said: “Gin sales are booming right now with 2018 alone seeing exports of UK gin reaching a record £614m, up 15 per cent on the previous year.

“Our job is to help businesses from Yorkshire and the Humber maximise these opportunities. Providing support through trade shows like SIAL China is a great way to help companies meet people in person and build a rapport face-to-face. Spirit of Harrogate is just one example of a firm from Yorkshire and the Humber using this opportunity as a chance to target new overseas markets and grow as a business.

“Yorkshire and the Humber firms looking to enter new markets, or trade overseas for the first time, should get in touch with us today. Our team of International Trade Advisers are ready to support every stage of the exporting journey. From meeting potential buyers to the legal regulations required when trading with new markets, we’re here to help businesses reach their exporting goals.”

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