Recognised market leader in alcohol free craft beer can now be found in 10,000 locations across Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada
Big Drop Brewing was launched in 2016 by Rob Fink and James Kindred, who set out to be the world’s first brewer dedicated to alcohol-free beer. Both had recently become fathers and were looking to cut back on the alcohol but could not find any decent alternatives to their favourite craft beers.
Along with experimental brewer, Johnny Clayton, they perfected techniques to make a range of 0.5% abv beer styles, but crucially without the need for alcohol extraction which resulted in a fuller flavour. Big Drop’s range of beers, which are all <0.5% abv, currently consist of: Stout, Lager, Pale Ale, IPA, Brown Ale, Golden Ale, Hazelnut Porter and a Sour, as well as special editions and collaborations with other leading brewers.
Big Drop’s first big export location was Sweden, thanks to a call from the country’s government-run alcohol retailer, Systembolaget which was looking to boost its alcohol-free range. This promoted the appointment of a Big Drop sales representative to look after the whole of Northern Europe.
It also employed the services of The British Bottle Company, a Department for International Trade (DIT) approved exporter and participant in the Gateway to Global Growth programme.
Big Drop had its sights set on deeper penetration into more distant markets where beer consumption per capita is traditionally high, but where alcohol-free options were still fairly limited.
Big Drop identified Australia, Canada and the USA as the markets it wanted to take a big bite out of. Without ‘boots on the ground’, it spent a few months building up contacts and cultivating relationships with distributors and retailers.
It was at this point that DIT East of England stepped into bridge some of the gaps and make introductions to DIT Canada, Australia, the USA and Russia as well as providing legal advice, marketing tips and creating introductions to drinks trade contacts.
Nick Worthington, Commercial Director at Big Drop, commented:
“The Department for International Trade has played an important role in furthering our reach around the world. You can now find Big Drop in over 10,000 sales points worldwide which is an incredible achievement for a business that has only just turned five. It’s been very reassuring to know that there’s help on tap when it comes to the nitty-gritty such as business formation, local jurisdictions and drinks labelling rules.”
Due to the help DIT offered, Big Drop Brewing secured a £3.2 million deal in Canada as well as a £2.4 million deal in Australia across 5 years.
Within 18 months, Big Drop has made the seismic shift from stocking its beer on the shelves of major overseas retailers, to contract brewing at a local level. This business model; producing beer in batches through a network of brewing partners worldwide, means it can sell fresh beer with a minimal carbon footprint and a much lower logistics cost base.
Big Drop can now be found in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and soon to be the US. In addition, they have won more than 50 major international beer awards, including four times being named World’s Best at the World Beer Awards and beating full-strength beers in blind tastings.
Alan Pain, Head of Region for DIT East of England, said:
“It is great to see Big Drop Brewing capitalise on the growing demand for non-alcoholic beer around the world by securing fantastic new deals in both Australia and Canada. With new Free Trade Agreements being negotiated with both these countries and others, DIT can help businesses to make the most of opportunities to grow wherever they may be on their exporting journey, from advice and training, introductions to valuable international contacts or to help with planning and executing your export plans.”