THE craft beer market is booming in the UK writes David Coppock, North-East regional head at the Department for International Trade, who explores the growing appetite and opportunities for UK craft beer overseas.

In the year to September 2017 more than 500 new craft breweries opened in the UK to meet the growing demand for British beer, both at home and overseas.

The North-East is no exception to this growing trend.

There are now about 80 breweries in the region, with beer festivals and events having taken place almost every week throughout the summer to satisfy the thirst for local pints.

Export opportunities for UK breweries have soared in recent years, as consumers across the globe develop a taste for unique and premium British-stamped pints.

Last year exports of beer from the UK totalled over £517 million, an increase of 126 per cent from the previous year.

As international demand for our beer evolves, it’s important for brewers to know which new markets to target.

Countries including China, Japan and the US are increasingly seeking out British beer and North-East brewers such as Durham’s Sonnet 43 Brew House and Newcastle’s Anarchy are embracing this demand.

Sonnet 43 shipped its first container-load of beer to Shanghai in August, marking the brewery’s first export deal.

The deal came on the back of its attendance at major trade show Food & Hotel China last November, which it joined as part of a Northern Powerhouse trade mission.

Anarchy’s partnership with Japanese company Ikon Europubs has seen its Newcastle-brewed craft beers featured at the recent Tokyo Beer Festival.

The company recognised Japan as a market of opportunity for craft beer, and the beer festival as an efficient way to showcase their products to potential new customers in this market.

There are opportunities for local brewers of all sizes to export worldwide and as Anarchy and Sonnet 43’s success shows, it’s not just the brewing giants that are finding success.

But while exporting can be incredibly lucrative, there are number of things that need to be considered.

When exporting alcohol, it’s important that businesses familiarise themselves with local standards and regulations, particularly when exporting to highly regulated markets, such as China.

Food and drink exported to China must be correctly labelled in Chinese, with the country of origin, the name and address of the Chinese distributor, weight, ingredients, date of production and expiry date.

Products must also be approved by China’s Inspection and Quarantine agency before they reach the shelves.

In the US, ‘best before’ labels will need to be written with the month first and the date second.

A small detail, but one that must not be overlooked.

Firms should also be aware of the varying legal requirements from state to state and ensure that their products have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before exporting.

As part of the Food is GREAT campaign, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) offer a wealth of support to help British producers who are keen to explore markets overseas.

DIT has a team of experienced International Trade Advisers based in the North-East on hand to assist ambitious businesses that want to start or develop their export strategy.

Breweries and firms in the North-East looking for exporting support should contact the North East DIT office on 0345-136-0169 or email