Supporting role

March 5, 2019

Mark Hird, founder and managing director of Sunderland-based Poetic License Distillery, has been working with Chris Jewitt, international trade adviser at the Department for International Trade (DIT) North East, to launch his company’s craft gins into new global markets

Mark Hird (pictured)

Poetic License, which established in May 2015, started working with a local DIT international trade adviser (ITA) in 2017. We had begun to receive enquiries for our products from customers abroad and, with rising demand for British craft gin overseas, we wanted to seize the opportunity.

Chris helped us understand what we needed to do to identify new markets, how to find potential partners and how to develop our overall exporting strategy. He’s also helped us consider the potential barriers and legal requirements we might encounter and think about preparing for orders in advance, accounting for the time needed to distil our product and shipping to meet our new exporting deadlines.

We also attended Food & Hotel China, a trade show in Shanghai in 2017, as part of a Northern Powerhouse-led delegation of North East food and drink producers organised by UK Government’s Food is GREAT campaign.

Poetic License now sells directly to customers in Japan and Cyprus and we’re exploring options to enter other new overseas markets.

As we seek to grow our business, we’ll continue to rely on DIT’s support to help us make the most of new opportunities abroad. There’s a lot of opportunity around the world for products and services from the North East. If a small distillery from Sunderland like us can sell our gin across the world, anyone can.

Chris Jewitt

After more than 20 years in the hospitality, food and drink sector – having worked with many award-winning restaurants – I joined the DIT as an international trade adviser working closely with food and drink producers, brands and manufacturers from across the region from Teesside to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

I started working with Poetic License Distillery in 2017. The business was experiencing increasing overseas demand for its craft gin, so we were on hand to support the business’ growth plans by finding the most suitable markets to enter.

The key challenges we helped the business overcome are common among other North East firms starting to export; language and cultural differences. For example, the language in Poetic License Distillery’s marketing materials didn’t directly translate to other languages. We helped to ‘transcreate’ the material – adapting its message from one language to another while maintaining its intent, style, tone, and context – to make it culturally relevant for the new markets the business entered.

I think the company has every chance to build even further on its international success. There are barriers to overcome, but the team at Poetic License haven’t been afraid to ask for support. The team has put in a lot of hard work into growing the business overseas and are already seeing this pay off.

DIT North East

Poetic License Distillery

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