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British Bottle Company signs distribution deal with US Vine Street Imports

Published:  17 May, 2016

British Bottle Company, which represents 20 British premium wine, spirits, craft beer and cider brands in the UK is heading across the pond to America after signing a deal with US distributor Vine Street Imports.

Initially 12 sparkling wines and two gins will be exported to the US, including Digby Fine English, Hush Heath Estate, Bolney Wine Estate, Camel Valley and Pinkster Gin followed by more brands in the coming months. 

Red Johnson, the chief executive officer and founder of British Bottle Company knew the US would be a key market for the business. He told "The US is the largest alcohol market in the world so it obvious we were interested in the market.  But more than that, they get the craft revolution. They are geekier than any other nation about craft. Domestically craft is big in the US which leads to international craft products having an opportunity there," he said.

Johnson had his eye on the US market as soon as he set up the business. "I started trading in September 2014 and that same month I went to the US for two weeks.  I knew it would be a key market for us.  I met with a couple dozen importers."

Johnson selected Vine Street Imports as the company because it has the ability to distribute its entire portfolio of products. "I didn't want to have one importer for one category and one improper for another. I wanted an importer that could work with our entire portfolio across beer, wines, spirits and cider and with Vine Street we can do that." 

The US market is ideal for the British Bottle Company according to Johnson. He said: "As the world's thirst for British drinks continues to grow we are looking forward to developing the US market as a substantial part of our business in the coming years."

In an effort to develop that market the company is in the process of setting up a US subsidiary and hiring a country manager to help in the expansion efforts. The company also plans to launch its entire wine portfolio in New York this October and participate in US trade fair, exhibiting as part of the Vine Street portfolio.

For the English Wine Producers having a clear path to exporting in the US is great news. Julia Trustram-Eve, marketing director of English Wine Producers, said: "As the reputation of English wine attracts ever more global attention the USA is clearly a priority market for exports. This deal is a significant milestone as it will be the largest portfolio of English wines available in any international market."