US beer lovers have enjoyed craft beer from across the North East as part of an international beer exchange at the Maine Brewers’ Guild’s International Beer Festival (6-11 Nov).
The UK Government-organised beer exchange gave four North East breweries an opportunity to feature their beers in the “Maine Beer Box”, a 12-metre refrigerated custom-built container with 78 beer taps.
The Beer Box initially appeared at the Leeds International Beer Festival in September where it served beer from craft breweries in Portland, Maine. It was then filled with local North East beers and shipped to Maine for the US side of the beer exchange.
The beer exchange was supported by Food is GREAT, a UK government initiative led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) to help UK food and drink businesses realise their potential abroad and establish their overseas presence.
At the event, breweries from across the Northern Powerhouse region saw their beers served at the Winter Session International Beer Festival in Maine, where buyers quenched their thirst with British craft beer.
The exchange allowed both markets to share tips and best practice in a bid to increase exporting opportunities, helping the firms to grow their business.
In the year to September 2017, more than 500 new craft breweries opened in the UK to meet the huge demand at home and overseas.
Almasty Brewing Co. was one of four North East breweries that saw its beer featured as part of the exporting beer exchange.
The firm hopes to increase its footprint in the growing US craft beer market, with general beer sales in the US increasing by 5% in the first six months of the year compared to the previous year.
Based in Newcastle, Almasty Brewing Co. currently produces three beers, including an IPA, a Bavarian-style smoked beer, and an American pale ale.
Sean Sullivan, executive director, Maine Brewers’ Guild, said: “To bring home craft beers from across the Northern Powerhouse region is really exciting. It gives UK brewers the chance to collaborate with those in the US that are heavily influenced by what is coming out the UK’s growing craft beer industry.
“I hope we see lots of success from the collaboration and continue to join forces with breweries from either side of the pond.”
Stephen Noblett, food & drink sector specialist, Department for International Trade, said: “The trip to Maine gave breweries across the region the chance to showcase their beer to an audience of prospective buyers, distributors and the public from across the US, which is a huge market for British beer.
“Maine is known for its booming craft beer tourism so creating an opportunity for these breweries to showcase what they have to offer during the festival could lead to some exciting and lucrative deals.
“Craft beer exports have seen a sharp increase over the past 12 months and it’s continuing to grow. It’s fantastic to see breweries taking advantage of these opportunities and, with the right support and guidance such as trade missions like this, anyone can do it.
“Trade missions are especially important as people get to meet buyers from across the globe face-to-face.
“Anyone thinking that exporting might be for them should get in touch with our team today. We have a network of international trade advisers in the North East ready to help businesses at any stage of their exporting journey, to help them benefit from the hundreds of opportunities across the world.”
Firms looking for support should call 0345 136 0169 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards, in association with HSBC and the Department for International Trade, seeks to recognise the most entrepreneurial exporters from across the North of England.
For more info visit www.northernexportawards.co.uk.
Photo credit: Whitney J. Fox Photography LLC/Maine Brewers’ Guild
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