South Korea's thirst for craft beer helps food and drink exports top £10bn

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Soaring demand for British craft beers in South Korea helped UK food and drink exports top £10bn in the first six months of 2017, the best first half figures ever.

Ireland, France and the US are the top three destinations for British food and drink, but the east Asian country was the fastest growing with export revenues up 77% as beer sales jumped more than 420% year-on-year to £59.3m, according to the Food & Drink Federation industry body.

Sales of beer to South Korea outshone whisky, traditionally the UK’s biggest food and drink export, with shellfish and ice cream also in the top five. Internationally, salmon is the UK’s second biggest export followed by beer.

South Korea has become an increasingly important destination for UK beer exporters as young people get a taste for specialist brews such as Brewdog, following trends in the US and Europe.

But despite its rapid growth, South Korea remains a relatively small export market overall for the UK, valued at only £156.3m in the first half. That compares to our biggest market, Ireland, where sales rose 12.4% to nearly £1.8bn , partly helped by the fall in the value of the pound.

The FDF said positive growth was reported in 18 of the UK’s top 20 export markets, with only Japan and Spain in decline.

However, that did not stop the UK’s food and drink trade deficit increasing by 16% to £12.4bn in the first half of the year amid an increase in the cost of imported ingredients and raw materials after the fall in the value of the pound.

Source: The Guardian

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