Bellfield Brewery raises glass to latest sales deal

The microbrewer is poised to visit the US to take forward discussions there. Picture: Contributed
The microbrewer is poised to visit the US to take forward discussions there. Picture: Contributed
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Gluten-free beer maker Bellfield Brewery is cheering further international growth after secured a listing with a retailer in Singapore.

The latest deal will see the Scottish brewery’s beers on sale in 23 branches of NTUC FairPrice Finest supermarkets from next month, thanks to an agreement struck by agent Gain Brands International.

The Edinburgh-based brewer, whose existing investors include angel syndicate Equity Gap and the Scottish Investment Bank, is experiencing strong demand for its beers as a result of the growth of gluten-free products.

Its new listing comes hot on the heels of live tenders in Sweden and Canada as well as the setting up of distribution agreements in Norway , Finland, the UAE and France.

Bellfield said the distribution agreements were “clear evidence” of a growing international demand for the firm’s award-winning beers. In the year to date, it has seen international sales increase by 145 per cent compared to those for the whole of 2017.

The microbrewery launched its first two beers in March 2016 and is now exporting to the Netherlands, Malta, Singapore and Switzerland, with an agency agreement in place in Canada.

Next month, the company will visit the US to take forward ongoing discussions with distributors, retail groups and sales and marketing agencies, and plans to launch a partnership with a leading US importer.

Bob Hogg, international market development manager for Bellfield, said the beers have been well received internationally.

“We have had great support from Scottish Development International that’s helped us to secure distribution agreements in key growth markets, where we see significant potential for volume sales,” he said.

“We also have a number of active tenders among the world’s largest alcohol buyers – Systembolaget in Sweden and LCBO in Canada – which we believe will lead to significant new business.”

Hogg was formerly the commercial director at Perth-based brewer Inveralmond and international director at Innis & Gunn, now the owner of Inveralmond.

The firm pointed to industry data showing that “free from” sales grew by 36 per cent year-on-year between 2016 and 2017, with gluten-free beer alone growing 83 per cent by sales value.

Last month, Bellfield announced that it was targeting further finance to help fuel its growth, particularly into international markets, coordinated by Equity Gap with potential match-funding by the Scottish Investment Bank.

Alistair Brown, founder and director, said, “We’ve already delivered our ambition to produce gluten-free beer that stands up to anything in the market.

“Our aim is to become the leading gluten-free brewery in the world, producing great-tasting beers that everyone can enjoy. Now we are seeking additional resources to target more customers especially in London and overseas and to make several key hires.”

This summer the brewery placed an order for a new 12-barrel (2,000-litre) brew plant that is now being fabricated and will be installed at its premises in Abbeyhill in the capital by the end of the year.