Export markets deliver sweet taste of success to Bristol drinks business

August 30, 2019

Bristol-based drinks ingredient company Beyond the Bean has secured a £50,000 contract with an importer in Jordan – the latest in a string of deals across the world.

The firm, which makes its own flavoured syrups in Bristol under the Sweetbird brand, already sells its products in more than 55 countries worldwide including the US and South Korea – its largest export market where it has been selling its syrups and smoothies for eight years. 

So far this year it has added 10 new markets to its portfolio by working with the Department for International Trade (DIT), which has been supporting the company for a decade. Last year the DIT helped it to secure a £68,000 deal in Oman and is now assisting it to move into the Central American market.

Founded in 1997, Beyond the Bean also develops and co-manufactures smoothies, frappes, purees, hot chocolate, chai, sauces and toppings, and flavoured powders from a diverse supply base in the UK and Europe.

Its brands include Zuma hot chocolate drinks, Cosy teas, Kent & Fraser’s gluten-free cookies and Blendtec blenders.

Exports account for just over 30% of Beyond the Bean’s £9m annual turnover. Its customers include Insomnia Coffee Company in Ireland and the UK, Vero Coffee in Lithuania and Joe Van Gogh in the United States.

Under the contract in Jordan, which is set to increase its turnover by around 5%, the firm’s complete range of products will be stocked in the acclaimed Alchemist Coffee House in capital Amman through importer Tree of Life along with other high-profiles cafes around the country. 

The contract is estimated to be worth around £50,000 over the next 12 months, increasing to £100,000 over the next two years.

Beyond the Bean sales & marketing director Gary McGann said: “This new deal in Jordan builds on previous success in the Middle East, which is one of our fast-growing markets.

“We have been exporting for over 15 years and although it has come with some challenges such as registration and labelling difficulties, we were able to overcome these with advice and support from DIT.

“I would encourage other businesses considering exporting to just take that first step – whether it is investigating the target market or finding the right local partner with support from DIT. The benefits of exporting for your business are invaluable, and if we can find success overseas so can other UK companies.”

Beyond the Bean, which employs 35 people in its head office on the Cala Trading Estate at Ashton Vale, initially met its Jordanian partner last year at Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food, beverage and hospitality exhibition.

The business started working with the buyer earlier this year by accompanying them to a trade show in, pictured, and giving with in-market beverage development training. 

DIT South West head of trade Paul Shand said: “Beyond the Bean is a great example of a business in the South West that has been able to tap into the demand for high-quality British products overseas, with their international success showcasing the vast opportunities that are out there for other UK businesses to capitalise on. 

“We are looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Beyond the Bean as they look to Central America as their next target market and plan to continue their expansion in the Middle East.

“I would encourage any other business considering overseas trade for the first time, or looking to increase its international footprint, to get in touch. We have a dedicated team of international trade advisers based in the South West and specialists in 109 countries worldwide.”

Thousands of live export opportunities are promoted on the DIT’s great.gov.uk website along with support, find-a-buyer and export-readiness tools.

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