A Lanarkshire-based microbrewery has secured its first export deal to supply Sweden’s state-run liquor stores.
Lawman Brewery, which has been helped by Business Gateway Lanarkshire, struck the deal with Lucky Ones Wine & Beer after contacting the Swedish importer who had started following the Cumbernauld brewer on Instagram.
From the end of last month, Lawman Brewery’s five core beers started to hit the shelves of over 300 state-run Systembolaget, the only retailer in Sweden licensed to sell alcohol.
The deal, which will see the brewer double production to 1600 litres per week, comes shortly after it took part in Aldi Scotland’s instore beer festival in July.
Owner Craig Laurie is now in talks with the supermarket’s Scottish buyers and hopes to secure a permanent listing for his products after the 3000 bottles of stout supplied to Aldi sold out.
The proceeds from the Aldi deal have allowed him to take on his first employee who will target the hospitality sector with his draft range. Already the company supplies 15 pubs, restaurants and bars in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Craig said: “The Swedish deal is huge for us, its equivalent to doing the Aldi deal every month, so our turnover is set to increase massively moving forward. When I spotted Lucky Ones Wine & Beer had followed us on Instagram I got one of my friends who is Swedish to send an email to them explaining who we were and our ethos. They quickly came back asking for samples and we agreed the deal over Skype. Over the coming months our entire core range will be sent to Sweden on pallets, with mixed cases and top-ups sent from January onwards.”
He added: “By getting DigitalBoost support from Business Gateway, I was able to build my understanding of social media which helped me attract the attention of the Swedish distributor. Right from the start I’ve had invaluable advice from Business Gateway and North Lanarkshire Council’ Environmental Health team. The council’s business support team also provided me with a grant. Getting to grips with the operational side of running a business isn’t easy, but my Business Gateway adviser, Sharon Harvey, was a fantastic sounding board, steering me in the right direction. She also connected me with Scottish Development International last year who helped shape my thinking about exporting.”
Sharon Harvey, Business Gateway, said: “Getting shelf space in Aldi earlier this summer and securing an exporting deal highlights not just the quality of the product Craig is producing, but his ability to get in front of buyers and impress them with his knowledge. But setting up a commercial brewery, no matter what size, isn’t easy, and right from the start we have helped him with business planning. Now, he is about to embark on a strategy workshop, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, that will help him put structures in place to successfully manage the brewery’s growth.”
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