Fentimans breaking into new export markets

Fentimans produces a range of botanically brewed drinks and cocktail mixers made using traditional methods from recipes held in the Fentiman family for over 100 years

Alison Kelso, export logistics manager at Fentimans
Alison Kelso, export logistics manager at Fentimans

One of the North East Chamber of Commerce’s pop-producing members has added some real fizz to sales after breaking into new export markets.

Fentimans produces a range of botanically brewed drinks and cocktail mixers made using traditional methods from recipes held in the Fentiman family for over 100 years.

Although the original company closed down in the 1960s, it was reopened in 1988 by Eldon Robson, great-grandson of the founder of Fentimans and has gone on to become a genuine North East success story.

Fentimans has grown to a turnover of around £10m and employs 16 people at its Hexham head office with a further 10 in their sales team across the UK, supplying retailers, wholesalers and the service sector globally with exports representing 20% of turnover.

Since appointing a dedicated export team in 2010, Fentimans has increased the number of the overseas territories it serves from eight to 42. Their goal is to quadruple export sales in four years to represent a third of company turnover and serve 50 countries.

Alison Kelso, export logistics manager, said: “Enquiries from abroad have shown a marked increase over the last few years and we are now actively targeting export markets with new products.

“We joined NECC to support our export activities and it has provided extremely useful legislative advice and compliance information to help our business to expand into new markets. We also benefit from networking opportunities and access to the local supply chain which support us with our day to day business operations.”

Fentimans has broken new ground opening up excellent markets across Europe, especially Spain, Austria, Belgium and the Scandanavian countries. Australia, Japan, Korea and USA are also lapping up the traditional drinks.

Alison added: “We have successfully entered nearly all European markets and established a firm distribution base in markets further away including Australia, Japan, Korea and the USA. Some of our products are produced under license in North America and we are now looking to develop long-term partnerships in BRIC countries.”

“Fentimans has stayed close to our historical roots in Northumberland and there is a sense of pride locally that a premium product like ours is based here and distributed globally. We are working with NECC to analyse new markets and to identify new routes to entry based on their insight and market understanding.”

NECC International Trade Manager, said: “Fentimans are a great example of how our regional firms can see a real benefit from exploring foreign markets. It is an excellent product that is immediately recognisable and the rest of the world seems to be waking up to this innovative new brand that is, in fact, steeped in regional tradition. Fentimans is a genuine North East success story.”

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