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22nd May 2013


Chris Ives, managing director of Ilkley Brewery.jpg
Ilkley Brewery has landed its first export deal which will see 14,000 bottles of Mary Jane IPA, Lotus IPA and The Chief arrive in the southern states of America in the next few days.
The deal was struck following two separate trade missions to the States: the first with the help of UKTI’s Passport to Export programme in January this year and the second, in March, as part of Santander’s Breakthrough programme. This is Ilkley Brewery’s first overseas shipment and marks the first in a series of planned monthly orders which will leave the UK for America.
The inaugural container load will be distributed to bars, restaurants and retail outlets throughout Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, New York and Washington states.
Yorkshire beers go stateside
The beers selected for this order were chosen by a panel of distributors and beer experts at a tasting event held by the brewery’s US importer in January this year. All three beers are highly hopped, big on flavour yet well balanced, qualities sought by the American craft beer market.  Mary Jane IPA is a 6% version of Ilkley’s flagship Mary Jane pale ale, while Lotus IPA is a 5.6% classic IPA and The Chief, a 7% American-style triple hopped ale. Future shipments to the States will contain kegged as well as bottled beers and in autumn, the brewery hopes to send its rhubarb Saison, Siberia and its chocolate Chipotle stout, The Mayan.
Speaking about the brewery’s US export deal, managing director Chris Ives, said: “We’re thrilled to finally see our first shipment leave for America. Export continues to be a key focus for the business, so striking our first overseas deal is a significant milestone for us.
“I first visited the States back in January and met with a number of beer distributors who were interested in our range and discussions continued over the coming weeks. I was then able to cement this first deal with our importer on a return visit to New York and Washington in March, this time as a member of the Santander Breakthrough programme.
“We are particularly pleased to do business with the Americans because there isn’t a huge amount of British beer available in the States, predominantly because there are so many fantastic craft breweries out there already. Through the tasting events, we were able to demonstrate that our beers are just as intriguing and vibrant, just as big on hops and flavour but equally, offer something completely different to American craft beers.”
Business support
The support given to Ilkley Brewery through the UKTI Passport to Export programme, has enabled it to carry out market research and market visits, not only in America, but also in Canada, Norway and Sweden, the latter being the next destination earmarked for export.
In March, Chris headed to the US with the Santander Breakthrough programme to learn more about how the US marketplace works in terms of its competitive landscape and distribution networks, as well as learning about specific regulations through meetings with the British Consulate, local UK Trade and Investment representatives, international attorneys and representatives from the Government of New York State. 
John Williams, Head of Breakthrough at Santander UK, said: “Our international presence allows us to share our knowledge and expertise of overseas markets, such as the US, to help fast-growth businesses, like Ilkley Brewery, unlock their potential and achieve their growth plans. We are absolutely delighted that Ilkley has signed its first export deal and we wish Chris and the team every success for the future.”
Breakthrough trade missions are part of Santander’s Breakthrough programme, which aims to help small businesses unlock their potential. As part of the programme, Santander is also making up to £200 million of growth capital loans available to fast-growth companies looking to invest in and grow their business. In addition to finance, Breakthrough also offers companies access to support and development programmes not typically available to SMEs, such as masterclasses with renowned business leaders to learn first-hand how to boost business growth.
To find out more about Ilkley Brewery, visit: or follow Ilkley Brewery on Twitter @Ilkleybrewery and Facebook 
Image attached (high resolution versions available on request):
  • Chris Ives, Ilkley Brewery’s managing director, bids the brewery’s first shipment farewell as it heads to the US.


Media contact:
For further media information, please contact Katy Barraclough, Conway PR, on 07813 094945 / 01943 430257 or email 
Notes to editors:
The Ilkley Brewery Co. Ltd. was founded in January 2009. In May 2009, it launched its first beer, Olicana Gold, which was closely followed by Ilkley Best and Ilkley Original who were joined in the summer by the now famous Mary Jane.


A string of awards has followed with most of the beers now brewed by the brewery winning medals at beer competitions up and down the country. 


In January 2011, Ilkley Brewery secured a debt and equity package from Glentrool Capital Partners LLP, who also provide corporate support to help grow the company. This enabled Ilkley Brewery to move from its premises on East Parade to a new 2,600 square foot brewery on Ashlands Road, Ilkley. A new 20 barrel brewing plant was installed allowing the brewery to produce 23,000 pints a week.


In October 2011, a new 30 barrel fermenter was acquired, taking production to over 32,000 pints a week. In March 2012, production capacity expanded again to close to 40,000 pints a week.


In January 2012, Ilkley Brewery was crowned one of Yorkshire’s most promising companies in the Government-backed Local Business Accelerators campaign, going onto win the national prize in August 2012 for being one of the country’s fastest growing and successful businesses. 


April 2012 saw the launch of the Origins range, showcasing the best in beer styles and brewing. Medina and Siberia were the first collaboration brews with renowned beer writers, and The Chief, Victorian Pale Dinner AleWit Marie, Green Goddess, and Holy Cow have since followed to much critical acclaim. 


As of August 2012, bottles of Mary Jane, Ilkley Best, Ilkley Black and Ilkley Pale are available in Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Booths supermarkets across the north of England, as well as Harvey Nichols stores and restaurants nationally.


Additional SIBA medals for Ilkley Black and Lotus IPA were awarded in October 2012 (Bronze and Silver respectively).


November 2012 saw the first export sales to leave the UK.
The Breakthrough programme is aimed at businesses with a turnover of up to £25 million per annum with demonstrated growth of 20% or more in turnover, profit or employment. Breakthrough aims to help these businesses fulfil their growth potential to create jobs and stimulate supply-chain demand and a private sector led recovery via a programme of both capital and support. Breakthrough is part of Santander Corporate & Commercial.
Santander Corporate & Commercial provides dedicated relationship banking support to businesses with a turnover of more than £250,000 through the bank’s 35 regional corporate business centres located across the UK. It is part of Santander UK a full-service retail and commercial bank providing services to 15 million active customers, with almost 1,200 branches.   It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander.   Santander UK plc manages its affairs autonomously, with its own local management team, responsible solely for its performance.   Santander UK is firmly focused on the UK with c. 98% of customer assets UK-related and c. 84% of customer loans consisting of prime residential mortgages to UK customers.   The total balance sheet remains UK focused, with a minimal net exposure after collateral to eurozone periphery countries only amounting to c. 0.4% of total assets. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Katy Barraclough MCIPR
Conway PR

M: 07813 094945
T: 01943 430257
Twitter: @conwaypr