Harrogate distillery raises a glass to trade with China

Harrogate Tipple, the distillery based at Ripley, is breaking into the Chinese market with its Downton Abbey branded gin and whisky.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 10:24 am
Steven Green, managing director of distillery Harrogate Tipple, with the Downton Abbey branded spirits the company is exporting to China.

Its drinks are now selling in China online through the Great British Food Store on the country’s largest social media platform, WeChat.

Steven Green, managing director of Harrogate Tipple, said: “The story of a little company like ours – there are just four of us – going to China with our Downton Abbey branded gins and whisky is just fantastic for this area”.

The spirits have been shipped to China and re-labelled in Chinese by logistics group Elanders UK of North Tyneside, which has 11 operations in China. The drinks are shipped to Elanders’ bonded warehouse in Shanghai, enabling Chinese customers to receive orders within 24 hours.

Elanders managing director Kevin Rogers said: “This cross-border e-commerce offers the simplest model for UK brands to sell to Chinese consumers and expand their export footprint. As the Chinese travel, they get a taste and palate for foreign goods, and they have a really good affinity with the UK. They see British products as having heritage and high quality.”

He added: “This initiative by Business West is right on the money because e-commerce in China is just insane. They buy everything online and WeChat is a very powerful tool”.

The Great British Food Store was set up by Business West, the Chamber of Commerce for the West of England, is already selling 20 UK food and drink brands on WeChat, which has a user base of 1.2 billion.

James Monk, commercial director of Business West, said: “Lots of companies like Harrogate Tipple have recognised that China is a great sales opportunity for them.

“The rapidly expanding middle classes there are ripe as an audience for quality UK food and drink products.”