export action plan winner - first chop brewing arm

Food and drink exporter case study: First Chop Brewing Arm

Who are First Chop Brewing Arm?

First Chop Brewing Arm is now leading the way in gluten free craft beer production. With a full range of 10 gluten free beers available in 330ml cans and bottles First Chop offers gluten intolerant craft beer lovers a real choice in what they drink. The beer is now available all over the UK and has begun making it’s first exciting forays into the international market.

Website: http://www.firstchop.co.uk/en/

Presenters: Richard Garner

What is the business and where are you now with your export plans?

We brew gluten free craft beer. We started exporting a couple of pallets last year and this year we stepped up our exports with a distributor in Italy and we’re now in advanced discussions with a distributor in Mexico and have now had a first order in Dominican Republic. Now we’ve done a couple of orders and found our feet. The plan is for the majority of our expansion to be through export.

There are a lot of microbreweries in England, but we’ve got a couple of unique aspects to us. We sell gluten free beer and a range of it too. We looked at the market and we started out doing cask beer and spent the first two years driving beers all round the country. Next we decided to take the business in a different direction. Selling through cans, bottles, kegs opens up the world as you can fill a container and the beer can go anywhere in the world.

How has the Action Plan helped your business?

I don’t see it as just the action plan but it’s part of a whole package of support. What it does is it spells out everything you need to do. There are a couple of things in it, which I’ve not even thought about. They’re simple things but things you have to do them. It’s reminded me that there’s this and that and along with that there’s the whole package of support from DIT and online that has been invaluable.

The plan in itself is great in what it makes you do and all the help you get from everything accompanying it.

And how have you found the experience of the competition today?

Everyone has taken it seriously and it’s fierce competition. It’s great to come to an event like this and meet all the different people. For the judges – big players in their fields – to sit there and smile and to have really listened to what I’ve said and ask me great question just gives me great confidence to take on the business. It’s what it’s all about – having confidence. You just got to do it.

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