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Hilden Brewery has secured an export first by winning an order to supply its bespoke products to the world’s biggest beer drinking country.

A full range of Hilden’s bottled beer is to be shipped to a major distributor in the Czech Republic, following a successful Invest NI Trade mission in June.

And while Hilden Brewery admit its exporting initiative might be seen by some as being on a par with selling snow to Eskimos the Lisburn based firm believes it can eventually crack open a potentially lucrative market.

The founder of Hilden Brewery, Seamus Scullion, said the company was confident that the initial order would lay the foundation for a successful marketing and sales campaign.

“Our objective is designed at helping fill the growing demand for niche beers in the Czech Republic.

“Beer drinking is an ingrained part of everyday life in the country. The per capita consumption on an annual basis is estimated to be around 156 litres’.

“Czechs have been drinking beer for more than a millennium. It has led to a rapid expansion in the numbers of small microbreweries since the fall of communism.

“The market however is still dominated by a handful of major brewers servicing a huge demand for Pils beer, both locally and in terms of the exports sphere.

“But young people in particular have made it clear through a number of consumer surveys that they want the opportunity to sample alternatives to the country’s traditional products.

“And we feel that the quality of our Hilden products, and the fact that it provides a full flavoured alternative to the Czech brands on offer will prove to be a winning combination” Mr. Scullion said.

The Czech Republic operation is the first phase of an ambitious European wide export strategy by Ireland’s longest established independent brewing company.

Hilden Brewery’s Sales and Marketing manager, Lisa Maltman, said the appointment of JASO as its Czech Republic based distributor was a key element in the brewery’s expansion plans for the European market.

“JASO has a very wide customer base ranging from restaurants, bars and specialist beer shops to supermarkets.

“They also have partners in other European countries such as Slovakia where we have our sights firmly fixed on breaking into new markets,” she added.

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