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International success brews as Cheshire firm lands first export deal

A Congleton-based microbrewery which produces traditional British heritage beers, has secured an order for 90 casks of its India pale ale (IPA) from Japan, marking its first international sale.

The Cheshire Brewhouse brews and sells craft beers and lagers by cask, keg and bottle. Produced using heritage barley which has recently returned to commercial use, its 1800s IPA has sparked interest overseas as it mirrors the taste of 19th century British ales.

The company has won a 3 star Great Taste Award with Govinda Plumage Archer, a 2 star Great Taste award for Govinda Chevallier and also won The World Champion RMI Analytics Heritage Malt Brewing Award In Nuremburg in November, making Govinda Chevallier the best heritage malt beer in the world.

The business started as a small brewery, producing 800 litres a week, but upgraded its premises in 2017 to double its production capabilities to meet demand for its products.

After creating a reputation for itself in the craft beer industry, the business received sales inquiries from potential buyers in Italy, Sweden and Japan. Sensing the opportunity to grow the company’s sales and revenue, the business began working with International Trade Advisers (ITAs) at the Department for International Trade (DIT) in October 2018 to capitalise on international interest in its products.

It gained support as part of the Food is GREAT campaign, a cross-departmental initiative between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and DIT, showcasing UK food and drink abroad and helping firms export.

Thanks to this support, The Cheshire Brewhouse is now set to ship 6,480 pints of its English IPA to Japan.

The company is also in the process of cementing trade links with Sweden, having forged a relationship with a Swedish distributor in March during a DIT ‘meet the buyer’ session at The International Food and Drink Event (IFE) in London. Plans are now in place to send samples to this potential new customer.

The Cheshire Brewhouse is also looking to sell its brews in the United States, after discovering interest in British beer while on a DIT-sponsored trip to a craft beer show last year in Portland, Maine.

Shane Swindells, Head Brewer at The Cheshire Brewhouse, said:

“We’re really proud of our heritage beers as they represent a quintessential British product, making them different to what every other country has on their doorstep.

“Given the growth opportunities that exporting presents, we decided now was the perfect time to try our hand at selling overseas. Working with DIT and its ITAs, we’ve been able to shape an export strategy and widen overseas interest in our products.

“Although it’s still early days for us in our exporting journey, our ITA has been great at helping us raise the profile of the brewery overseas. I’d encourage others to make the most of the phenomenal support out there. If a two-person brewery from the North West of England can export, anyone can.”

Paul Stowers, Head of Region, North West at DIT, said:

“UK food and drink is recognised the world over for its excellence and it’s encouraging to see so many companies, like The Cheshire Brewhouse, take advantage of the rising demand for British products.

“Beverage exports from the North West totalled £159.9m in 2018, not only strengthening our regional economy but also making the businesses that sell their products overseas far more resilient and profitable. For those looking to benefit from the endless opportunities out there, we have staff based in more than 108 countries to help overcome relational, linguistic and even legal barriers exporting sometimes poses.”

Companies looking for support on their export journeys should contact 0333 320 0392. They can also visit the Exporting is GREAT website which lists live export opportunities and general information on exporting and events.