Keen to expand its export footprint in the wake of Brexit, Suffolk-based St Peter’s Brewery has signed a deal with a Chinese importer. Anna Tobin reports
St Peter’s Brewery will now be supplying five of its beers: Ruby Red, Cream Stout, India Pale Ale, Old Style Porter and Golden Ale to the Chinese market. The brewery already exports to North America and Australia and it was actually an approach from China that led to this latest deal.
St Peter’s Brewery founder John Murphy says that the business has always attracted global interest. “I started the company about 20 years ago. We are a very innovative brewery and we’ve always seen an interest in our products from around the world,” he explains. “We are probably the biggest exporter of beer in terms of the proportion of our sales of any brewery in Britain. We export about 40% of our product.”
With the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, non-EU business is now particularly welcomed by the brewery. “We don’t know what the next few years hold when it comes to export, but what we do know, is that deals outside of Europe are going to enable us to continue to export in the large volumes that we do currently,” explains Ryan Crisp, export sales manager at St Peter’s Brewery.
“China is quickly becoming one of the largest craft beer markets in the world, so this new deal will be huge for us. It will allow us to generate a whole new customer base in a market that we have previously been unable to reach. British produce is highly regarded in China so we expect our range of delicious, hand-crafted beers to be incredibly popular.”
Within the EU, St Peter’s Brewery’s main markets are Sweden, The Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, and Eastern Europe, but Murphy isn’t overly concerned about the impact of Brexit on the business. “I should think about around 10% of our total turnover comes from the EU and I think that the people who like our beers like our beers. We are a specialist product and if we have to raise our prices slightly, and I don’t think it would be by that much to take account of additional costs, I don’t think it will put off our European customers.”