Image of Scott Russell and colleague on Paddy & Scott's exhibition stand at Global Food Forum

Suffolk coffee company brewing success in the Middle East

Paddy & Scott’s, based in Bury St Edmunds, is tapping into growing demand for British artisanal coffee in the Middle East by opening its first distribution hub in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Launched in 2007 from managing director Scott Russell’s car boot, Paddy & Scott’s sells its ethically sourced coffee at its own cafés and espresso bars, and supplies hotels—including Marriott Hotels—across the UK. It also exports to Hong Kong, China and Russia via distributors and concessions.

After seeking support from the DIT in the East of England, the business has now opened its first distribution hub in Dubai to supply its nitro cold brew and craft coffee to hotels, bars and restaurants across the Middle East. Their International Trade Adviser Rosemary O’Connor was able to put them in touch with DIT staff based in the Middle East who conducted in-depth market research for the company, which they used to adapt its product to appeal to the local market and tastes.


“With the backing of DIT it is easier to make overseas contacts, as an international business will take you much more seriously.”


The business found that tailoring its inherently British product to show recognition of the local culture and suit the local palate was key to its success in the Middle Eastern market. Since launching in the region, domestic and overseas product sales have increased by 40%, and in the next two years exports are expected to make up 25% of the company’s sales.

The company also work in partnership with a family of coffee farmers in Meru, Kenya, investing in local schools and farm infrastructure.

Scott Russell said: “We started making coffee that we wanted to drink, hand-packing it and selling it from the boot of our car. The last few years have been incredible in terms of growth, and we now sell enough coffee to make 90,000 cups a day which is enjoyed by people all over the world.

“Exporting was a huge untapped opportunity for us and before working with DIT, our international sales were minimal. Our International Trade Adviser helped us to create a clear strategy and showed us what was possible. With the backing of DIT it is easier to make overseas contacts, as an international business will take you much more seriously.

“If we can go from start up to multimillion-pound global business with the support from DIT, so can other local businesses.”

Thinley Topden, Head of Region for DIT East of England, said: “The UK is leading the way in craft and artisanal beverages, and we’re seeing these products become increasingly popular worldwide. Paddy & Scott’s is an entrepreneurial business filled to the brim with ambition. The brand’s ethical credentials and quirky branding have proven popular around the world, and it’s fantastic to see them finding success in the Middle East.”


“If we can go from start up to multimillion-pound global business with the support from DIT, so can other local businesses.”


“For businesses across the East of England looking to start or increase exports, we have a dedicated team of International Trade Advisers on the ground who can offer a range of support, including practical advice and guidance, training sessions, and introductions to valuable business contacts overseas.”

Exemplas Trade Services Ltd (ETSL) has delivered the contract for the Department for International Trade (formerly UK Trade and Investment) in the East of England for almost a decade.

For more information on how we can support your business in exporting overseas, get in touch.