Innis & Gunn cheers exports success amid global thirst for UK beer

Dougal Sharp, Innis & Gunn founder and master brewer. Picture: Contributed
Dougal Sharp, Innis & Gunn founder and master brewer. Picture: Contributed
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Innis & Gunn has hailed the importance of the Asian market to its exporting business as the UK government highlights the region’s potential for British beer makers.

The Edinburgh brewer last year sold 2.5 million cases of beer in more than 35 countries, including China and Australia, working in conjunction with the Department for International Trade (DIT) to drive its overseas business.

Exports now account for 50 per cent of Innis & Gunn’s total value of sales.

It comes amid wider export success for UK breweries, as the DIT announced sales of British beer in Asia and Oceania have grown at an average annual rate of 29 per cent over the past ten years.

Exports to the two regions were worth £90 million in 2018, almost five times more than ten years earlier.

China was the most valuable Asian market to the British beer industry, buying in excess of £50m, while worldwide exports of Britain’s national drink are now worth nearly £500m.

The announcement comes on National Beer Today, which is celebrated today.

A spokesperson from Innis & Gunn, said: “The DIT has been extremely valuable in engaging us with international partners and helped organise visits to Asian markets to expand our reach to prosperous destinations such as China.

“We want to get as much great beer into as many hands as possible, and have exciting growth plans for Spain, Italy and Asia, in 2019 and beyond.”

Innis & Gunn last year unveiled plans to build a large-scale brewery in the Scottish capital to meet demand for its lager. The site will also house a visitor facility, taproom and offer brewery tours.

Trade secretary Liam Fox said: “Given that around 60 per cent of the world’s population live in Asia and Oceania, it is vital that we continue to capitalise on these markets.

“Innis & Gunn is just one example of a UK brewer that have dived into pubs and bars across the region and witnessed their sales soar.”

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, which has worked with the DIT to support trade missions and networking events, said: “In 2017, we launched our Export Strategy 2017-2022 with the government, which identified China as a key growth market for British beer exports.

“These statistics show how Asia is a very attractive and growing market for Britain’s brewers. Seventy per cent of overseas tourists visit pubs when they come to the UK, they then want to try that beer again when they go home.”