Shepton Mallet cider brand achieves export success in Hong Kong

Export | Food & Drink | International | South West

Shepton Mallet-based, Pilton Cider, has secured a new contract that will see the company ship 900 bottles of its sparkling cider to Hong Kong for the first time.

The new deal is with Wanderer Cider, an importer that specialises in showcasing traditionally-made cider from around the world to consumers in Hong Kong. The deal will see Pilton Cider stocked in restaurants, bars and shops across the region.

Thanks to its existing export success in the US, Europe and Japan, exports currently account for 10% of Pilton Cider’s turnover. This most recent win in Hong Kong is the next step towards the brand’s target of boosting its international sales by a further 10% in the next five years.

Pilton Cider creates a range of whole-juice cider from apples collected from orchards in and around the parish of Pilton. The business is based in a former Victorian brewery and makes the cider through the artisan method of keeving, which means that there’s no added sugar or water. The apples are slowly fermented for six months before being stored in champagne-style bottles or kegs.

The business first started exporting in 2015 after noticing international demand for British-made cider. To start identifying international buyers, the business received support from the Food is GREAT campaign, a cross-departmental initiative between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT). The campaign aims to showcase UK food and drink overseas and helps businesses to export their products.

Martin Berkeley, owner of Pilton Cider, said: “British-made cider is some of the best in the world, and consumers are impatient to get their hands on it. With this new deal in Hong Kong, we gain an initial foothold in yet another potentially lucrative market for our business.

“As an alcohol brand, exporting can present challenges. There’s differing taxes, duty and legislation to be aware of for every country you target, not to mention different tastes and cultures. That’s why working with International Trade Advisers is so worthwhile.

“Before looking to crack the Hong Kong market, we worked with our ITA to understand how perceptions of cider vary amongst different demographics. We learned it can be seen as a feminine drink because of the sweet taste – so now we’re working with Wanderer Cider to help bust the gender stereotype.

“I’d recommend that any food and drink producer interested in exporting makes the most of the Food is GREAT campaign’s support and resources available to producers of all sizes. Between the free exporting courses, opportunities to network with overseas buyers and market research available from DIT, there’s no reason not to embrace the benefits exporting can bring your business. If we can find success overseas, so can many other South West-based brands.”

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