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Yorkshire brews up a festive storm in Scandinavia

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Yorkshire brewers are profiting from growing demand for their festive ales in Nordic markets, as new data from HMRC shows UK beer exports to the region are growing rapidly.

Three Yorkshire breweries – the Ilkley Brewery, Saltaire Brewery in Shipley and Black Sheep in Masham – are all experiencing festive demand from the region.

The Ilkley Brewery has sold over 8000 bottles of its special Christmas brew ‘Mary Christmas’ in Finland alone, more than 3x the volume of the brew sold in UK supermarkets.

The company says exports in 2019 are up 200% up on last year and now account for 10% of its overall sales.


“We’ll have sold our 100,000th litre of beer outside the UK by the end of the year” said Director, Luke Raven.

Similarly, Saltaire Brewery is exporting its White Christmas brew to Finland and Sweden, and Black Sheep is also exporting to Sweden this Christmas.

Jorvik Estates, based in Uppsala, Sweden, are importers of ales, stouts, porters and ciders from a range of UK breweries.

Jeremy Duxbury, Founder of Jorvik Estates, explained how he has seen demand for Yorkshire beers in Sweden grow. He said:

“Sweden was lacking in decent ales when I arrived 20 years ago, so when the opportunity presented itself, I decided to do myself a favour and any Swedes who got a chance to sample the Yorkshire beer I began importing. The demand has been doubling every 6 months and there is now a real buzz around ‘cask’ ales.

“With the help of great names such as Saltaire, Black Sheep, Ilkley and Timothy Taylors, I am confident that British cask ale is now here to stay”.

The Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP, commented:

“International demand for Yorkshire’s beers and ales is booming.

“Food and drink exports from across the country have grown, and in Yorkshire and the Humber this has grown by over 25% over the past three years. This government will ensure continued growth as we negotiate new free trade agreements with the world’s fastest growing markets after Brexit.

“Once Brexit is done on the 31st January, we will unleash Yorkshire’s potential on the world stage.”

In the 12 months to September 2019, food and beverage exports from the Yorkshire and the Humber region totalled £1 million; an increase of 5.0% on the 12 months to September 2018, and an increase of 27.1% over the past three years.

In the 12 months to October 2019, the UK exported £2.5 million worth of beer to Finland; an increase of 9.6% over the past 12 months.

Mark Robson, Head of Yorkshire and the Humber at the Department for International Trade, commented:

“The craftsmanship and heritage of Yorkshire’s beers is world renowned, and having worked with a number of brewers in recent years I am confident that demand for their beers will continue to grow.

“With a packed programme of trade missions and industry events over the next six months, the Northern Powerhouse team at DIT is ready to get even more businesses from Yorkshire making the most of global opportunities.”

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