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Expanding the export market

On 14/06/13

Britain rightly has a global reputation for the quality of its beers and has been brewing beers to send around the world for centuries. India Pale Ales and Russian Imperial Stouts are some of the most famous beer styles designed for overseas markets. These are still brewed today for consumption in the UK and as part of the burgeoning export market.

To build on this great export history, the BBPA (along with BFBi) has begun working on a new ‘beer export strategy’ with the UK Government. Working with partners at UK Trade & Investment the industry has begun to identify key focus markets where significant growth can be achieved. Steps are also being taken to improve the amount of information available to brewers about overseas markets and to challenge trade barriers that are seen to hamper growth.

In 2012 around 6.5 million hectolitres (4 million barrels) of beer were sent for export from UK brewers, worth just short of £600 million. The volume of beer exported has more than quadrupled in twenty years. However, some of these ‘exports’ need to be taken with a pinch of salt, as they include movements between the UK and Ireland for packaging and some movements to the near Continent - brought back into the country by ‘booze cruisers’.

North America is the largest non-European destination for British brews, with more than one in five heading over to the US or Canada. Closer to home, Ireland, France and Belgium are our biggest trading partners – although the earlier ‘cruise’ caveat obviously applies here too. Italy, Spain and the Scandinavian countries also consume significant amounts of our beer. The growth nations of China, Russia and Brazil are currently only a tiny fraction of UK beer exports but there are ambitious plans to gain traction in these markets.

Expanding the scale and scope of UK beer exports is a critical step in demonstrating the industry’s commitment to growth in the UK. Following the abolition of the beer duty escalator and the one penny per pint reduction in tax, the industry needs to demonstrate it is contribution to economic growth.

The BBPA and BFBi are planning to launch the export strategy alongside the Government in the autumn of 2013, showcasing the best of British beer. If any brewers want to learn more about the work being done in this area please get in touch.


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