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New craft beer export guide strives to launch Canadian breweries abroad

With almost 1,200 breweries in Canada, a craft brewing industry that has grown exponentially in recent years, and our reputation for clean air, fresh water and some of the best barley in the world, it’s no surprise that international markets are starting to take notice of our craft beer. For all of those reasons, and Canada’s numerous free trade agreements, and there’s never been a better time for Canadian beer producers to make the leap to exporting.

That’s why the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) has put together its Canadian Craft Beer: A Step‑by‑Step Guide for Exporting, a comprehensive resource designed to help Canadian breweries navigate the road to exporting.

“Right now, about 85 percent of Canadian beer production is sold and consumed in Canada,” says Trade Commissioner Janet Dorozynski, the TCS lead and resident expert on the Canadian wine, beer and spirits industry. But there’s room to grow our exports because we’ve always been known on the global stage for our beer. “It’s part of our popular culture, and we’re still essentially a beer‑drinking nation.”

The TCS’s export guide seeks to leverage that reputation and encourage craft brewers to take advantage of the unique market opportunities becoming available to Canadian exporters. In fact, Canada is the only G7 nation with free trade access to the Americas, Europe and the Asia‑Pacific region thanks to agreements such as the:

According to the TCS, approximately half of all breweries in Canada are less than five years old. This increase in brewing capacity has primarily been contained to the domestic market as breweries focus on growing locally. But as they look to further expand, international export markets are poised to be the next frontier.

The guide provides detailed advice, from setting up an export account and obtaining the necessary certifications to pricing advice and shipping documents. There’s also an export checklist, as well as resources for marketing, e‑commerce, and market‑entry strategies.

The guide also contains contact information for those well positioned to help hopeful exporters, such as Dorozynski herself, other Trade Commissioners and industry trade groups, as well as information on funding opportunities and trade shows.

Dorozynski’s advice for beer producers and others looking to export? “You have to be committed and you have to be persistent. To be a successful exporter, you have to do your research. You have to pick your markets carefully; you have to really know what you are doing. It’s all about commitment, research, allocation, persistence.”

From its craft beer export guide to the  CanExport for Businesses (SMEs) funding and support program and network of more than 160 offices in Canada and around the world, the TCS is here to support Canadian breweries on the path to exporting. Check out the full guide to learn more about what the TCS can do for you.

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