The potential of this ‘showcase pub’ is being discussed by brewers and the Government as part of a new strategy to drive exports of British beer by £100m over the next five years.
If adopted the mobile pub would be set up at key overseas export promotion events and trade shows.
1bn pints a year
Beer is the UK’s third biggest food and drink export after Scotch whisky and chocolate, with 6m hectolitres – the equivalent of more than 1bn pints – exported every year.
The new initiative is detailed in a 16-page guide to British beer export strategy launched by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
Brewers have initially identified export promotion events in France, China, Canada, Italy and the USA in 2018-19 that they believe provide maximum opportunities for exports.
The strategy emphasises the importance of standing out at such events and providing something different, which is where the British pub showcase comes in.
Writing in the strategy document, the BBPA said: “We have worked up what this British pub roadshow concept would look like and the key elements to incorporate.
“We now want to work in partnership with Government to make this a reality and to enable a major showcase of British beer.
“In exchange, brewers would commit to collaborate at the events outlined, potentially with an even broader offer of drinks, such as cider and British gin, as well as foods, to ensure that Government and industry are successfully demonstrating a high-quality, uniquely British food and drink sector to the rest of the world.”
Roadshow to promote pubs
By dropping a pub into major overseas export promotion events, a spin-off benefit could be heightened awareness of it as a tourist attraction for foreign visitors to Britain.
British pubs are already high on the list of attractions for British visitors. Research by the pub accommodation website Stay In A Pub found that the great British pub is one of the top three places that tourists from abroad want to visit.
As a result, the official tourism website of Great Britain, Visit Britain, and Visit England, now promote British pubs.
Pubs play 'unique role'
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Growing the export market and showcasing British beer is also a great way of promoting the unique role beer plays in Britain’s pubs, helping to keep them high on the list of most popular tourist attractions.
"Third on the list of things to do for overseas tourists is to visit a pub and 75% do visit a pub while they are here. They drink British beer here and want to be able to do so when they reach home too.
“Initiatives such as Visit Britain’s GREAT campaign helps our beer exports too.
"With so many UK brewers also operating pubs, thriving beer exports act as a spur to investment at company level, which boosts both brewers and the wider pub trade.”
Exports increased in 2016
In 2016, beer exports from the UK rose by almost 6%. This was driven within the EU as well as by sales to the rest the world with growth rates of 5.3% and 6.5% respectively. The EU accounts for 63% of total exports.
The top 10 UK beer export markets by value are USA, Ireland, France, Netherlands, Canada, Italy, China, Sweden, Australia and Spain.
The BBPA’s export strategy includes:
• A new ‘export hub’ on a new BBPA website linking brewers to potential overseas buyers
• A new ‘best practice guide’ on how to navigate export markets
• An identified future programme of inward/outward missions and overseas trade shows
• Liaison initiatives with Government on priorities for free trade agreements aimed at breaking down trade barriers, frictionless trade with the EU, and an agenda of regulatory reform
Support from the food minister
It was launched by food minister George Eustice at Fuller’s Griffin Brewery in Chiswick. He said: “This is the first sector-specific strategy to launch since our ambitious export plan last year – testament to the hard work of the BBPA – and will put us in a strong position to boost international trade when we leave the EU.”
Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny, who hosted the launch, said: “Exports are a key part of Fuller’s business with one in four pints we brew being sent overseas.
“A strong export strategy is crucial for us – especially as we expand beyond the 82 countries we already export to. We welcome this export strategy and the Government’s support for it.”