This year, IFE is proud to partner with the Food is GREAT campaign, a government initiative that supports UK food and drink businesses by increasing positive public perception and demand of UK food and drink around the world.

From farm to fork, at every stage of the food chain, the UK is creating exceptional food and drink that’s enjoyed across the globe. Since 2007, UK food and drink exports have increased by nearly two-thirds, with exports now worth over £22bn, providing endless opportunities for UK exporters.

Food is GREAT, led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and the Department for International Trade (DIT), supports businesses to take the leap and sell their food and drink products abroad. Poetic License pic

One company benefitting from the Food is GREAT campaign is Sunderland craft gin producer Poetic License Distillery, hoping  to boost its annual production capacity from 100,000 to 1.5 million bottles per year to capitalise on growing demand for British craft gin overseas.

The company, which already exports its range of spirits directly to customers in Japan and Cyprus, is currently in the process of purchasing a new 2,000 litre gin still, which will increase its total production volume by 1400%.

A recent contract with a new distribution partner in South Africa, coupled with anticipated growth in the size of orders from its existing export customers, means the distillery is expecting to see its exporting revenue increase from 10% to 30% of its annual turnover over the next year.

Poetic License is also in discussions with a potential buyer in China after attending a trade show in Shanghai last year. The business attended the show as part of a delegation of North East food and drink producers on a trade mission organised by the Food is GREAT campaign.

Poetic License also plans to target other new markets, including Australia, something that wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Food is GREAT.

Mark Hird, founder and managing director of Poetic License Distillery explains:

“In our experience, export success is all about research and preparation. In 2017 we started working with government International Trade Advisers, who helped us develop our export strategy and identify new partners overseas.

“Exporting can drive serious business growth but there have been a few challenges we’ve had to overcome. For example, each market will have its own legal requirements for alcohol sales. In both the South African and US markets, we’ll have to redesign our bottles from the UK’s 70cl standard to the South African and US 75cl standard size. It’s a small but essential change that will enable us to enter additional gin export markets.

“Exporting can be tricky at times, but the benefits can be huge. If a business like ours can do it, there’s no reason many others can’t too.”

The benefits of tapping into international markets are endless. Firms that export are usually more profitable, successful and resilient. DIT’s team of International Trade Advisers are available across the country to provide support and guidance during the whole exporting process, whether your business is looking to export for the first time, or increase its international reach.

If you own a business and are looking to export your products, you can find out more by contacting your local DIT regional office, or visiting, which lists more than 1,000 live export opportunities, and also includes general information on exporting and events.

You can also check out the Food is GREAT campaign on Instagram: @GREATBritishFood.

The support is out there, and you could be too.

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