Two locally based brewing companies, who travelled to Philadelphia last week to showcase their award winning craft products to key influencers in the US drinks industry, have hailed the trip a huge success.

John Wauchob from Baronscourt Brewing Company and Niall McColgan from The Muff Liquor Company have encouraged other local companies to avail of forthcoming opportunities to take part in export market programmes being organised by the two local Council authorities in Derry and Strabane, and Donegal.

John and Niall were part of an Ireland Northwest delegation with Derry City and Strabane District Council and Donegal County Council to attend a prestigious Craft Drinks event entitled ‘In Good Spirits’, where they were given an insight into the US beverage industry and received advice and assistance on how to bring their produce to market in the United States.

John Wauchob, co-founder Baronscourt Brewing Company, says the visit was hugely beneficial in making new contacts across all areas of business development and providing access to renowned brewers to find out how they developed their produce.

Niall McColgan from The Muff Liquor Company said the visit was particularly useful in providing an overview of how to enter the market in terms of financial support, insurance and legal considerations and branding. He said: “Philadelphia is a great place to start as it is close to both Boston and New York and provides us with a cost effective base from which to explore other US markets.”

The visit comes just weeks ahead of a call out to local businesses to sign up for Ireland Northwest’s ‘Gateway to Growth International Export Programme’, which is financed by The Executive Office and the Irish Government. As part of ongoing collaborative work, the councils have been working closely with a range of partners to promote the North West region and are keen to encourage other local companies to consider taking part, so they too can develop their sales into international markets.

Further trade missions are scheduled to take place to both Boston and Philadelphia in November when both Councils will be supporting a range of local companies to assess their readiness to export and gear up to target and explore new business opportunities

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Michaela Boyle says a key element of the Councils’ objectives is to facilitate market entry for small and medium enterprises who have the ambition and the capacity to enter international markets.

Encouraging local companies to attend the export insight sessions organised for – the 4th and 12th of June – Mayor Boyle said the Ireland Northwest Gateway to Growth programme is hugely beneficial in giving small and medium sized businesses a unique opportunity to tap into new markets and meet with in-market business influencers and contacts.

“The next US trade and investment mission planned for Philadelphia and Boston this autumn is a great opportunity for interested companies to internationalise their business, increase their business connections and exports and make new contacts in the US. Previous trade missions in the past number of years have been hugely successful in allowing us to raise the profile of the North West City Region to international markets and to assist indigenous companies to do business in export markets. We are hoping that other companies will see the benefits and sign up to be part of this year’s delegation.”

John Wauchob, of Baronscourt Brewing Company, encouraging companies to consider being part of the export mission, said he would highly recommend it.

He said; “It has given me so many new ideas about ways in which I can grow and develop my business and it has helped me to identify new opportunities and develop relationships both locally and internationally. The export market is hugely important for us as we have a small population here with a limited market and in order for us to grow, it is important for us to explore and tap into new markets.”

Niall from The Muff Liquor Company agrees, he said: “Being part of the Ireland North West delegation was a great way to make contacts and learn more about the market first-hand. It provided us with a forum to showcase our products and highlight the quality of the food and beverage offering which is coming from the North West of Ireland. Irish spirits are very much on trend now and this was a great opportunity for us to put our products in front of a new market.”

Workshops will be held on Tuesday 4th June, 9am -2pm @ Strahans Road Civic Amenity Site Strabane and Wednesday 12th June, 9am – 2pm @ Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Bishop Street, Derry.