A brewery from Caerphilly, which uses its organic certification to give it an international edge, is growing in popularity across the world after successfully tapping into the global export market.
The Celt Experience employs nine members of staff at its brewery on the Pontygwindy Industrial Estate, and specialises in producing craft beers, lagers and soft drinks. During the last year, the organic brewery has increased its focus on the international export market which now accounts for 12.5% of all its business. It has secured consistent orders from over 20 countries including China, Japan, Australia, Russia and Chile, and is producing around 13,000 litres of beer every week to keep up with demand at home and abroad.
The brewery was recently awarded silver in the Welsh Export category at this year’s Wales the True Taste Awards, based on the strength of its export strategy. The judges particularly commended founder and managing director, Tom Newman, for his pro-active, hands-on approach to business, which has seen him travel the world and visit over 10,000 potential outlets for his products.
After the Japanese earthquake in 2011, Mr Newman personally flew out to visit his importer in Tokyo, and spent over a week visiting customers and helping to rebuild a business strategy. The experience helped to develop a strong relationship and Celt is in the process of growing its Japanese customer base further. He has also secured a distribution deal with Hong Kong’s largest retail outlet Watsons, and the quality of his beer won around the Swedish government which has allowed it to be distributed in the country. Most recently he attended the SIAL global food fair in Paris, arriving back in Wales just in time to receive his award.
For Mr Newman, who is also Wales’ only accredited Beer Sommelier, the key to international success is the quality of the product, and he sees the certified organic ingredients that form the basis of all his beers as a key component of the Celt brand.
He said: “We are selling a premium product and the ingredients we use, like the organic malted barley, helps us to create the distinctive flavour that our customers love but also helps us to tell our story.
“We received assistance from the Welsh Government, who investigated a number of markets with us in a series of international projects. It was quickly recognised that there was a huge global interest in craft beers, and a new generation of young international enthusiasts were starting to drink weird and wonderful ales.
“The combination of heritage and history behind our products, the quality of the ingredients, the distinctive brewing methods, the variety of our product range and our contemporary packaging, all play a part in the success of the brand.”
Tony Little from Organic Centre Wales, which provides support to organic producers, said:
“Customers the world over already understand what ‘Organic’ means, and as Welsh standards are backed in law by EU regulations it gives customers in export markets the confidence they need to buy Welsh.
“We’re producing fantastic food and drink products in Wales but competition is tough on the international stage and exporters need to take every advantage available to them. Being able to market a quality product from Wales, with the added assurances that come with organic certification, is a recipe for success.”
Organic Centre Wales is the national resource for consumers, farmers and policy makers committed to more sustainable food and farming in Wales. To find out more visit www.organiccentrewales.org.uk