The Government is spearheading a fresh drive to encourage more export sales of beer from smaller British brewers.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is convening a steering committee involving a number of associations, in-cluding the Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Suppliers Association (BFBi), to discuss how to ramp up exports.
The Government has come under pressure from industry in general to do more to boost exports after slashing the budget for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), which provides Trade Access Programme (TAP) grants, designed to fund trade delegations abroad, from £20m to £6m in recent years.
Joining he BFBi on the new committee is the Food & Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) and the UKTI. The committee's first meeting is due in July.
"DEFRA has put this committee together to see how we can best work in partnership," said BFBi chief executive Ruth Evans.
"The ultimate aim is to provide export services to allow UK companies to sell more products abroad."
Agriculture minister Jim Paice was asked in Parliament what steps DEFRA is taking to support micro-breweries.
Paice replied: "The Government is committed to working with the food and drink industry, to help it take full advantage of the potential for growth through overseas trade.
"DEFRA has met with the BFBi to discuss the extent to which micro-breweries might be able to take advantage of this potential."
According to most recent HM Revenue & Customs figures, total annual UK beer exports hit 3,352,100 barrels in 2009.