Beer is the UK’s third largest food and drink export with a value of nearly £600 million last year. Last week, I visited the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, run by Fuller Smith & Turner, to launch a new British beer export strategy with the British Beer and Pub Association. Fuller’s now exports to more than 80 countries and is one example of our successes with exports. We have regular discussions with the Treasury on the beer industry’s contribution to our local economies and communities.
The Minister will be pleased to know that we have had some initial success in promoting and exporting Shropshire beer to Poland, but more needs to be done over the small breweries relief scheme to help breweries such as Battlefield Brewery in my constituency to unlock the potential for additional exports. Will he continue to press the Chancellor on this important project?
There are some great success stories in my hon. Friend’s constituency and in Shropshire. I did in fact discuss the small breweries relief scheme with the British Beer and Pub Association last week. I am aware that many microbreweries feel constrained by the current regime and have argued for changes to it. While this is obviously a matter on which the Treasury is the policy lead, I can say that we have ensured that those representations have been highlighted with the Chancellor.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury and Atcham (Daniel Kawczynski) for raising this issue. St Peter’s Brewery in my constituency has built up a very good export business over many years. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is vital post Brexit, if we are to open up new markets and create new jobs, that such obstacles are removed?
I very much agree with my hon. Friend. Indeed, I attended an event that we hosted in our embassy in Japan just last year to promote a range of British drinks, including British beers. They are one of our great success stories. The industry aims to increase its exports by around £100 million a year over the next few years, and there are some great success stories that we should champion.