Export growth brewing for Northumberland firm

Export growth is brewing for a Northumberland drinks firm, Fentimans with the help of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

Fentimans Ltd, of Hexham, specialises in the production of a range of botanically brewed soft drinks and cocktail mixers, using a simple process involving herbs and plant roots.

A family business, the company was launched by Thomas Fentiman in 1905, who produced botanically brewed ginger beer using a unique recipe he was given as security for a loan made to a fellow tradesman that was never repaid.

Originally deliveries were made door-to-door using a horse and cart, but Fentimans’ wide range of drinks, which includes Traditional Ginger Beer, Victorian Lemonade, Curiosity Cola and Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger, are now widely available in shops, bars and restaurants across the UK and beyond.

The growing popularity of the drinks has inspired the company to explore new markets and it signed up to UKTI’s Passport to Export scheme and its Gateway to Global Growth (G3) initiative to help identify and make the most of overseas opportunities.

Alongside these initiatives, it also utilised UKTI’s Virtual Export Manager (VEM) scheme during 2011 through the enlisted support of Piero Alberici. This enabled Fentimans to explore a large selection of overseas markets.

Tiffany McKirdy, Operations Director at Fentimans Ltd, explained:

“As a result of this initiative, Fentimans is now exporting to 20 new markets including Belgium, Italy and all of Scandinavia.

“Sales growth in these export markets is now outstripping that being achieved in the UK.”

Jeff Bean, one of UK Trade & Investment’s International Trade Advisers, said:

“Food and Drink represents the largest manufacturing sector in the UK and even in this economic downturn, exports are continuing to grow, month on month, year on year.

“The main recipients of UK food and drink exports continue to be mature markets such as the USA, Canada and the EU. However, developing markets such as the Gulf States and Asia are opening up some excellent opportunities for exporters.

“The North East boasts a wide range of food and drink producers, many of whom took part in a special reception with the Prime Minister in Downing Street last year – including Fentimans Ltd – to help promote and showcase what the region has to offer.

“Fentimans Ltd is just the latest to prove North East goods are still very much in demand overseas and with the support of UKTI companies can take advantage of those opportunities to achieve growth.

“I hope Fentimans’ success will inspire others to take up the export for growth challenge and to contact UKTI to find out how we can help.”


For more information about the wide range of support services available through UK Trade & Investment to help your company succeed overseas contact:

North East International Trade Team

Tel: +44 (0) 845 05 05 054

Email: enquiries@uktinortheast.org.uk

You can also follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/UKTINorthEast.

Find your nearest International Trade Advisor via our postcode search facility in “Contacts in your region”.

Story links


Gateway to Global Growth

Passport to Export

Sectors: Food & Drink
Export Action Plan