A Scottish exporter of craft beer and spirits is celebrating after signing several deals with Japanese importers while growing the number of producers it works with.
Chris Miller, director of JW Filshill International, said the number of distillers the business works with has doubled as it continued to generate new business overseas, particularly in the Far East.
He said its recent deals to export to Japan had included craft distillers such as Pickering’s Gin, Orkney Distillers, Glasgow Distillery, Strathearn and McQueen’s, as well as craft brewers Williams Brothers, West Beer and its own Clan Brewing Co.
JW Filshill International, which trades as the Craft Beer Clan, is now working with more than 40 craft brewers and 40 craft distillers from across Scotland.
The recent deals to export Scottish craft spirits and beers to Japan followed a smaller deal with Japanese distributors last year, which saw Scottish craft products on sale on Amazon.jp. JWF International has appointed four import partners and enabled export of 20 craft distillers to Japan, with a total of 35 new products now on sale generating a turnover of almost £100,000.
Chris Miller said: “That’s £100,000 of business that didn’t exist last year. And now that we have our foot in the door we’re confident this figure will grow considerably through our import network in market. We have also appointed an agent, a former Diageo executive, for this region.”
As well as the growth in craft spirits, Mr Miller said craft beer was still going from strength to strength, adding: “We're exporting craft beer regularly to the Middle East, to mainland China, including Hong Kong, and to South Korea, for example. We’re now able to offer those contacts an increased portfolio of high quality craft beers and spirits, benefiting everyone, from the consumer to the brewer and distiller.
“Scotland has a great many outstanding craft brewers and craft distillers who make some fantastic products, beautifully packaged, beautifully marketed. What we do at JWF International is give these world-class brewers and distillers a route to market where they lack resources in time, financial, contacts or administration in place.”
Earlier this year, Chris Miller and fellow Craft Beer Clan director Simon Hannah, who is also managing director of parent company JW Filshill, were in Dubai as part of a trade visit in partnership with Scottish Development International and Scotland Food and Drink. They then went on to the FoodEx show in Japan where they initiated several supply deals on behalf of Scottish craft distillers.
Miller said: “I think what has been key to the success of the Craft Beer Clan has been the collaborative approach we’ve all taken; working closely with SDI, Scotland Food and Drink, and of course the craft brewers and distillers whose expertise and brilliant products are rightly sought-after all over the world. We’re very proud to be representing them on the global stage.”