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Scottish craft ales quench German thirsts

04 February 2015

Islay Ales secure contract to supply German retailer through Access 6 export programme

A Scottish SME has successfully entered the highly competitive German export market, with a range of craft ales brewed on the remote west coast island of Islay.

Islay Ales, one of the diverse range of food and drink producers participating in Access 6, the innovative European Union INTERRREG IVA funded export programme , secured a deal to supply 1,200 bottles to German retailer Manufactum with longer term provision anticipated thanks to the retailers catalogue division.

The handcrafted ale brewery began work within the Access 6 programme in January 2014, having been selected for its suitability to the German retail and food service sectors and its ambition to grow sales in this market.

Islay Ales has since undertaken a range of audits and training modules with the aim of enhancing their competitive advantage. With the support of Access 6 project mentors Green Seed Germany, the company developed its product to meet the needs of Europe’s largest export market. The range of four ales – Black Rock Ale, Single Malt Ale, Finlaggan Ale and Dun Hogs Head – will be officially launched at the end of March 2015 alongside Dan Kelly’s Cider, an Access 6 SME from the Irish region.

Ishbel Capper, director at Islay Ales, said: “Throughout the programme we learnt to deal with very detailed contract arrangements, the requirements of German labelling and the intricacies of HMRC movement documents and international carriers.

“With the advice of the Access 6 mentors Green Seed Germany we were encouraged to pursue negotiations to secure the deal with Manufactum. This is a fantastic achievement for Islay Ales, and the confidence gained during the process has led to export agreements in France and Switzerland too.”

Nicole Günther, director of Green Seed Germany, added: “Our initial analysis identified Manufactum as a good retail outlet for premium suppliers such as Islay Ales and Dan Kelly’s.   We are excited about this opportunity and were delighted to help both companies with the marketing assistance and logistical support they required to enter the German market.”

The Access 6 programme delivered by Scotland Food & Drink (SFD), the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) and Northern Ireland Food & Drink (NIFDA) aims to provide SMEs with training and mentorship to successfully supply and trade in a number of foreign markets including UK, France, Germany, North America, Benelux and Scandinavia.


  • Access 6 is an exciting new EU funded programme, being led by the Scotland Food & Drink (SFD), the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) and Northern Ireland Food & Drink (NIFDA).

     It has been funded by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme for regional cross-border co-operation between Western Scotland, the Border Region of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  The INTERREG IVA Programme is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and the project is in receipt of match-funding from DARD, Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

    The Programme aims to provide extensive training and mentorship for Food and Drink SMEs in these border regions, and develop new routes to market in the UK and international markets.

     This project will form six “clusters” of Food and Drink SMEs - London/SE England, France, Benelux, Germany, Scandinavia and North America - and provide them with the marketing skill-sets, professional marketing assistance and logistical support to successfully supply and trade in the main UK and international markets.

    Target west of Scotland counties include Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Argyll, Bute, Wigtonshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Lochaber, Skye and Lochaish.

    Each cluster will also work alongside a number of channel partners within each export market, such as a major distributor, wholesaler or retail multiple. This will create a strong competitive advantage by providing a clear route to the end market.
  • Food and drink is one of the main drivers behind Scotland’s growth in exports. In 2012 Scottish Development International reported the sector was valued at £5.4bn.  Scottish food and drink exports continue to be strong, with Scottish Government figures reporting 3.3% growth in the first quarter of 2013.


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