USDA Awards Increased Funding for BA Export Development Program
The Brewers Association (BA) Export Development Program (EDP) has been awarded $929,048 from the USDA’s Market Access Program for the 2022 program year, a 32% increase in funding from the previous year. This significant increase reflects continued strong support from the USDA for the EDP and American craft beer’s successes internationally.
Together with other funding from the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program and Emerging Markets Program, the EDP will enter 2022 with more than $1.3 million, its largest grant budget on record. These additional resources will allow the EDP to look at deepening specific activities and at new activities in new or existing target markets.
EDP Members Stand Out at U.K. Summer Beer Festivals
Beer festivals returned to the EDP calendar this summer despite restrictions limiting international travel. With the EDP’s American Craft Beer Ambassador to Europe, Lotte Peplow, stationed in London, the program was able to participate in a series of consumer and trade-oriented marketing activities. These events showcased the quality, variety, and innovation of American craft beer and provided a forum for new and existing export opportunities for EDP members.
In July, Lotte represented the EDP and its members at the inaugural Manchester Craft Beer Festival (MCBF), where the American craft beer booth was a highlight and 26 EDP members were featured to the sold-out audience of 10,000 beer enthusiasts over two days. Shortly after the MCBF, Lotte returned to London to participate in BrewLDN, a popular beer, music, and street food festival. Lotte led two sold-out tasting sessions for an audience of 120 consumers, trade, and media attending the festival. EDP member brewery representatives participated virtually during each session to present their beers and allowed for direct engagement with the enthusiastic guests attending each tasting.
The EDP continued marketing activity into August with its first-ever presence at the London Craft Beer Festival (LCBF). Now in its eighth year, LCBF is one of the U.K.’s premier craft beer festivals with the mission to celebrate the creativity, diversity, and dynamism of modern craft beer culture. Attendance was a reported 12,500 beer enthusiasts, local trade, and media. The American craft beer booth presented 27 EDP members over two days and was often seen with long lines of discerning beer lovers seeking out beer from the United States.
Japan International Beer Cup Results
The Japanese market for craft beer continues to flourish, and consumer demand for innovative and high-quality craft beer from the United States was backed up by a successful showing at the 2021 International Beer Cup (JIBC). Hosted by the Craft Beer Association of Japan, the International Beer Cup is Japan’s largest international beer competition. Judging for the 2021 event took place Sept. 24-25 at TKP Garden City in Yokohama. This year’s competition saw 943 entries from 211 breweries across eight countries. As with other competitions supported by the EDP, member breweries participating in the JIBC received support to cover entry fees and consolidated sample shipping.
EDP members won 30 awards this year including nine gold, eight silver, and 13 bronze medals.
2021 European Beer Competitions Recognize American Craft Beer
Continuing with our medal count, American craft brewers once again displayed their expertise in brewing through a strong showing at two major international beer competitions in Europe. The EDP covered the cost of entry fees, cold storage, and an airfreight shipment to both the Brussels Beer Challenge and European Beer Star competitions in 2021.
In Brussels, EDP members were awarded 32 medals—eight gold, 13 silver, and 11 bronze. Cigar City Brewing’s Maduro Brown Ale was voted ‘Best American Beer of the Competition.’ Meanwhile, EDP members saw success at the European Beer Star as well, winning 18 medals in total—including five gold, four silver, and nine bronze. Congratulations to all the winners!
American Craft Beer Featured at Planète Bière in Paris
The EDP returned to France, one of American craft beer’s fastest-growing export markets, in early October to present American craft beer at the largest craft beer tasting event in the region, Planète Bière.
Consumer and industry-only tasting sessions each saw approximately 3,800 attendees. The Brewers Association booth saw heavy traffic where 13 EDP member breweries and their beers were present alongside French cheeses and oysters in pairings determined in partnership with local cheesemongers and oyster farmers.
The event also served as a tie-in to the EDP’s social media campaign in France from a few months ago. During that campaign, the EDP developed content for a local website and for social media accounts that linked to importers and to key influencers on France’s alcohol beverage sector. Following up that campaign with in-market festival participation helped demonstrate to the local trade that the EDP is committed to supporting growth for American craft beers in France.
Boosting American Craft Beer in Mexico
Following cancellation in 2020, this October saw the EDP’s return to Cerveza México—Mexico’s largest trade and consumer show—to raise awareness for American craft beer among consumers and trade in the small, but vibrant and expanding craft beer segment in Mexico.
The American Craft Beer booth featured 33 beers from ten EDP member breweries. Attendee interest was high throughout the three-day show, as those in attendance sought to sample and learn about the various beers on offer.
BA staff members Steve Parr and Adam Dulye traveled to Mexico City to represent the EDP. Beyond the show itself, the trip enabled the EDP to reconnect with key trade contacts within the Mexican craft beer industry and assess future marketing and distribution opportunities for the EDP and its members.
Marketing and Regulatory Developments in China
Great American Barbeque Event
On Aug. 25, the Brewers Association sponsored the Great American Barbeque event organized by the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Shanghai. GAB aimed to feature highlights of U.S. cuisine while showing appreciation to ATO’s trade contacts and customers of U.S. agricultural food and beverage products. The event was attended by over 200 importers and traders from around Shanghai who were able to sample American craft beer alongside food from 20 other U.S. agricultural groups.
Jim Heller, Consul General of the U.S. Consulate General Shanghai, Erik Hansen, Director of the Agricultural Trade Office of the U.S. Consulate General Shanghai, and Mark Hanzel, Deputy Director of the Agricultural Trade Office of the U.S. Consulate General Shanghai, participated in the BBQ event.
Brewers Association Launches American Craft Beer WeChat Account
The Brewers Association launched an official WeChat account in China in the fall of 2021. Social media has proven to be not only an effective tool but also a necessary one in outreach and engagement with trade and consumers in China. This has been further emphasized considering the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited in-person events and activities.
With this new communication platform in place, the EDP will be better positioned to provide updates on American craft beer programming and events organized by the BA and member’s in-market partners, introduce American craft beer brands available in China, and promote key messaging such as best practices for storage and handling and beer and food pairing.
China Market Update: Decree 248
From Jan. 1, 2022, China will implement expanded registration requirements impacting suppliers of most food products to the Chinese market. Chinese Decree 248 requires facilities that manufacture, or store products exported to China to register with Chinese authorities (GACC), either directly or via a U.S. authority by Jan. 1, 2022. The U.S. Government recommends all facilities supplying products to China seek registration directly with GACC via China’s Single Window portal. Following registration, products must be labeled with a registration number on the inner and outer packaging.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released guidance with screenshots covering how to complete the online self-registration process. The USDA guidance can be found online here. The EDP encourages breweries that export to China to consult with their importers about this requirement.
Canadian Beer Lovers Celebrate American Craft on International Beer Day
With travel to Canada not on the table for most of 2021, the EDP pivoted to digital marketing channels to give Canadian beer drinkers another reason to experience American craft beer this year.
Surrounding International Beer Day on Aug. 6, a Canada-wide campaign was executed to generate consumer and category awareness around American craft beer available in the market. The EDP contracted a Toronto-based marketing agency to deploy multiple executions for awareness including digital, paid and earned media, evergreen content, influencer content, and print advertising.
A press release was deployed nationwide featuring stories and content supporting the main campaign theme of promoting craft beer from the United States. The release received 125 article pick-ups with an estimated audience reach of tens of millions. In addition to the press release, four premium digital publications were selected to publish articles covering the International Beer Day holiday and American craft beer brands available to celebrate with. The EDP worked with Canada Takeout for a national reach, Curiocity for Alberta, Vancouver is Awesome for British Columbia and Foodism for the Ontario market for a combined monthly audience of 245,000+.
An influencer marketing plan was also put in place to amplify campaign objectives. Ten influencers from across Canada with reach in the key markets of Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia were selected to receive samples and create content to share on their Instagram or Facebook channels. The influencer component generated 147,000 social impressions.
Upcoming EDP Activities, January-March 2022
The EDP continues to raise awareness internationally and build export opportunities for American craft brewers. Please refer to the list below of events and marketing activities open for registration, as well as the EDP member resources page:
- Beer & Food Attraction, Italy – January 7 travel application deadline. January 14 brewery registration deadline.
- Planète Bière, France – February 7 travel application deadline. February 14 brewery registration deadline.
- Korea International Beer Expo -February 7 travel application deadline. February 14 brewery registration deadline.