Lancaster Brewery takes beer to global market

Lancaster Brewery is going global.

Monday, 6th March 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:53 am
Matt Jackson at the British Chamber of Commerce Christmas dinner in China

Last week, director and founder Matt Jackson was in Russia touting the Lancaster Brewery brand.

He’s in China on March 20, and India on April 1, taking the already nationally renowned brewery offering to a world market.

The company has also established a partner in Milan, Italy, and in Hong Kong, and is trying to make in-roads in Turkey and Holland.

Matt Jackson on the radio in China

Matt, who sits on the steering group of the Parliamentary Beer Committee, said he is also in the process of developing a kegging plant at the Lancaster Leisure Park site, increasing the options for foreign exports.

“It’s about finding the right partners in each location,” he said.

“We got our fingers burnt in Norway, due to the partner there having cash flow problems, and in America, because we took the wrong advice on bottle sizes.

“We lost our appetite for exports for a bit, but we’ve been involved with the Lancaster University’s China Catalyst Project and one student has really come through for us.

Matt Jackson on the radio in China

“She’s asked if she can do more work in China, and she’s come back with several contacts. We’ve now started to export to Italy too.

“We’re looking at Turkey, Holland and Russia as well, and we’ve got to look at America again.

“In the alcohol world in the UK, there are ludicrous taxation laws. Our beer duty is one of the highest in the world.

“People don’t seem to see how much we’re being stung here in the UK, but by selling it abroad we lose the tax straight away. We’re seeing the world open up to our beers.”

Matt said it was too early to tell how Brexit would affect business, and what effect exporting under World Trade Organisation terms would have on potential trade.

“We only brew for bottles every three months, so I’m really interested in the keg market.I was in Russia a few weeks ago and they loved the product. The good thing about China and Russia is that they both want British labelling, they want the British experience.

“It’s really exciting times, as we can also start kegging for the domestic market too.

“If we can get just a tiny percentage of people from these huge countries interested in our beer then that would be great.”

In terms of leaving the EU, no-one knows what’s going to happen, even if it’s World Trade Organisation it’s still going to be 10 per cent duty.

It might hurt us in that people in Europe might decide they don’t want to buy British products.

Trying to sell British beer in France and Germany is a big no already.

Italy is quite a sophisticated market though.

We’re also making in-roads in India, where they currently enjoy 660ml bottles of 7-8% volume porters!