Batch Brew, the Burnley distiller of small-batch gin, has broken into the North American market after securing two new export contracts with suppliers in the US and Canada.
In November, Batch shipped its first order of 4000 bottles to fulfil an exclusive US distribution deal with a Georgia-based spirits distributor, and in September shipped 450 bottles to SAQ, the state-owned alcohol retailer of Quebec.
These new export deals, when combined with an increasing overseas demand for craft gin, mean the company is now forecasting to see its export sales grow from 12.5% of annual turnover to more than 20% in the next 12 months.
Their North American successes are the most recent in a series of export wins for the business. Last month the company also began shipping to a new retail partner in Italy, as well as shipping its first pallet of a bespoke gin made using Chinese botanicals to a new partner in China.
Batch Brew’s exporting success is being showcased as part of the Food is GREAT campaign, a cross-departmental initiative led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) to showcase UK food and drink overseas and help more firms export.
Claire Plowes, Operations Manager at Batch Brew, said: “When we first started out, exporting wasn’t part of our business strategy. However, with the recent craft gin boom, we jumped at the chance to have gin drinkers around the world try our product.
“These new North American deals are a big step forward for the business, but there’s been a few things we’ve had to tackle to make them happen.
“For example, in the US and Canada not only is the standard spirit bottle size larger than in the UK at 75cl, the standard for packaging is also different, with the US market shipping in boxes of 12, compared to our boxes of six. To get around this we’ve not only had to adjust our bottle size, but also commission custom boxes.
“Support from International Trade Advisers has not only enabled us to overcome some of the legal barriers we’ve encountered in new markets, but has also helped us seek out new opportunities overseas. Thanks to their support, we’re now in discussions with a potential new partner in Germany, who we met at a Northern Powerhouse meet-the-buyer event in Harrogate last year.”
Paul Stowers, Head of Region, North West, DIT, said: “Gin exports from across the UK are booming, and the US is our biggest market – worth £189m in the year to June 2018. Distillers from across the North West are well-positioned to benefit from this demand.
“To help more local firms take advantage of the export opportunities available, we have a team of International Trade Advisers – like those that work with Batch Brew – on hand to offer one-to-one guidance on everything from addressing labelling regulations, to sourcing trusted logistics providers.”