Exports / 23 October 2017

A British Beer export strategy for the next five years

Last week, we launched our new export strategy for British beer for the next five years. It was a real pleasure to be hosted at Fullers Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, and to welcome George Eustice, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Brewing is a very British industry, over 80% of the beer we drink here is brewed here, we contribute over £23 billion to the UK economy, but pay £13 billion in tax and we support nearly 900,000 jobs. Beer exports have always been important but in the current economic uncertainty, we also see an even greater opportunity for exports which clearly have the capacity to grow.

Beer exports were worth £583 million in 2016, up 16 per cent on the previous year, and we export beer to over 100 countries. By value, the largest national market is the USA, with the EU accounting for 60 per cent of the market by volume. We believe that working with the Government, not only can we continue to grow in EU markets but in markets all over the world.

Our new strategy from 2013 builds on the success of our existing, three-year Beer and Cider Action Plan. We have now announced an ambitious goal of achieving £100 million growth over the next five years, using 2016 as the base. This growth is achievable, but will require hard work and commitment from us and our members to build a comprehensive set of tools that we are confident will help us reach our target. The plan has a number of key elements:

  • We will support both new and existing exporters, helping to provide the information they need to succeed abroad. To do this, we are rebuilding our website and adding new functionality, including an Export Hub. It will contain country profiles of key markets and include economic trends, trade data, demographics and market access issues. Importantly, it will also serve as the virtual window into the UK domestic offer for importers and wholesalers the world over.
  • Our new Brand Showcase, will highlight great British brewers and promote their flagship brands to the world – helping to match buyers and sellers, worldwide. As if that were not enough, we will also be providing suggestions for pairing beer with food, which is a great way to show the world what British food and drink can do.
  • Our strategy also aims at quality assurance and sustainable growth. We have compiled a Best Practice document for exporting. We want to ensure that from grain to glass, no matter where you consume it, a British beer tastes just as the brewer intended.
  • We will again collaborate with Government – DEFRA, DIT and the Foreign Office – to maximise our impact abroad. We have worked with brewers to identify the top five trade shows over the next two years where, with some help from government, we think have the potential to win business abroad. The Pub Roadshow Concept, as we’re calling it, would create a reusable stage that would stand out, create buzz in a crowded venue, and market the UK Food & Drink sector. In exchange for Government help to secure funding, we would commit ourselves to attending these trade shows for the next two years.

There are other ways of working with Government. We will work on a forward programme of inbound/outbound missions, building on the success of a recent Canadian mission. With DEFRA’s Hospitality Toolkit, building on BBPA materials, we will help to provide embassies across the world with guides on how to serve British beer, style guides, and beer/food paring suggestions. We will continue to be an active participant in the dialogue over Free Trade Agreements and what market access barriers the sector encounters, the world over.

Finally, domestic regulation and taxation must remain competitive. We can only afford to invest in export growth if the UK market is competitive relative to our neighbours, particularly in these uncertain times. We need to create a climate that incentivises growth for all our brewers.

It will not therefore surprise you that we are calling on the Government to cut beer duty, after the 3.9 per cent increase we have already had this year, which cost the industry over £130 million. We also want the pub-specific rate relief granted in the March Budget for a further year.

A big thank you to Simon Emeny, Richard Fuller and the whole team at the brewery for hosting the launch of our export strategy last week, and to George Eustice for showing such support.

Written by

Brigid Simmonds

Chief Executive

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