Brlo, the German craft brewer, is looking to secure listings in the UK as part of efforts to grow sales outside its home market.
Co-founder and CEO Katharina Kurz, who set up the Berlin-based business in 2014, said the company has teamed up with an unnamed partner to gain a foothold in the UK.
“I think the first order is going to go out in the next three to four weeks. Our partner there has big buyer discussions in the coming days,” Kurz told Just Drinks at the Beer Strategies and Innovation Conference in the German capital.
“We’re going go a little bit different route there because, to be honest, we tried for forever to get imported in the UK. Some of the classic craft importers didn’t work with us. For years, we’ve worked with Beer 52, for example, on mail order, but now we’re actually partnering up with a young company that have a beverage themselves and they’re doing distribution for different categories. I have a very good feeling with them, so let’s see.”
Brlo does not disclose annual revenues but Kurz said the company sells 20,000hl of beer a year, with some 15% of that sold on export markets.
The privately-owned brewer ships to “about 15 countries now”, she told the event, including to the US, where the company recently won a test listing at Whole Foods Market stores.
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Kurz said she believes Brlo can ride overseas interest in Berlin and its culture. “We need to put a massive focus on [export],” she said. “So far, we’ve been very opportunistic, to be honest. Importers approached us and we’ve done a little business here and a little business there. Actually, the big challenge for us right now is to determine ‘Okay, how much budget do we actually need to really develop these countries? Do we have the right partners?’
Brlo brews from two locations in Berlin, where it also has four brewpubs. Around 50% of its volumes are sold in the city.
Kurz set up the business with Christian Laase and Michael Lembke nine years ago. The majority of the shares in Brlo remained in the founders’ hands but the company has taken in external investment.
“No big investors but we have, I would call them, business angels,” Kurz said. “We have still 70% or so in our hands.”