The acquisition follows 12 months of strong growth for the business, which saw a 600% uplift in orders since it began exporting to Asia last year. SBCo, a drinks innovation business based in the UK, Hong Kong and China, and owner of the Baijiu Society brand, planned to complement the new factory by opening a new sales office in Shanghai.
SBCo’s Chinese outpost, along with its existing office in Hong Kong, will help launch the company’s new range of canned, pre-mixed baijiu-infused versions of classic cocktails and support the business’ established Baijiu Beer range, set to be produced in Cropton.
The company completed its first export order in January last year after attending the Food and Hotel China (FHC) trade show, as part of a Northern Powerhouse trade mission supported by the Food is GREAT campaign – a cross department initiative by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Commenting on the company’s export success, SBCo managing director Craig Butler said: “Visiting trade shows with the support of Defra and DIT has been a major catalyst in our success in the Chinese market.
“Alongside exhibiting at FHC, we met with lots of trusted buyers at the China International Import Expo. With the support available, any firm looking to enter the market should consider visiting for themselves first. If we can do it, you can too.”
SBCo now ships 25,000 bottles of its beer to Asia each month, which are sold in super-casinos and luxury hotels, including the Galaxy Macau Casino, The Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong Country Club and China Club.
Understanding of markets
Mark Robson, head of UK regions – Yorkshire and Humber at the DIT added: “This brewery at the foot of the North York Moors has developed an excellent understanding of Greater Chinese markets, including the differences between mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
“With its range of beers, and new range of cocktails and spirits, Baijiu Society has demonstrated how a British product can be re-imagined with a Chinese twist. They have proved the demand for British products, tailored for the tastes of China.”
Meanwhile, international investment in food and drink businesses grew in the fourth quarter of 2018.
What is Baijiu?
Baijiu, also known as shaojiu, is a category of at about 12 Chinese liquors made from grain. It literally means "white (clear) alcohol" or liquor.