B.C. craft brewery taps into South Korea
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, a craft brewery in Richmond, B.C., has made solid inroads into South Korea’s competitive craft beer market by establishing a strong brand and strategic relationship with a South Korean distribution partner.
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Fresh from opening their brewery in Richmond, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks signed a distribution partnership with South Korea’s Beersum Co., Ltd in 2016. The partners launched Fuggles & Warlock at the Seoul International Wines & Spirits Expo in April. Since then, demand for the “geeky” B.C. beer has boomed. The company is now exporting in a variety of formats – cans, bottles, single-use kegs – and its products can be found at South Korean hypermarkets, on store shelves, and on tap at select pubs.
The team at Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks began as “gypsy brewers”, brewing at home and at any facilities that would accommodate them. In December 2015, they opened a 13,000 square foot brewery in Richmond’s Ironwood district. The vast facility suits their business strategy: “to take beer where no beer has gone before.” The team, including President Tom Orange and brewers Dan Colyer and Tony Iaci, have leveraged their self-described “geeky-ness” into a hot global brand with cleverly named products, including “Bean Me Up” Expresso Milk Stout, “The Last Strawberry” Strawberry Wit, and “Super 8-Bit” IPA. Keep watching these boundary pushers as they quest into the Japan and Hong Kong markets.
British Columbia’s trade and investment team in Korea helped Fuggles & Warlock promote its products at Seoul International Wine and Spirits Expo. B.C.’s Trade and Investment Representative also introduced E-mart, the largest retailer in South Korea with 160 stores across the country, and Shinsegye, a South Korean department store franchise, to Beersum, Fuggles & Warlock's importer in the Korean market.
Fuggles & Warlock's successful move into South Korea was spurred by the recent signing of the Canada-South Korea Free Trade agreement (CKFTA) which came into effect in January 2015. This was the first trade agreement signed by Canada with an Asian country and was especially significant for B.C. as South Korea is British Columbia’s fourth-largest goods export market. CKFTA has removed South Korea’s 30% duty on Canadian beer and will eventually remove duties on 98.2% of tariffs.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s trade mission to Korea in May 2016 further expanded and strengthened business relationships between B.C. and South Korea. During the mission, B.C. hosted investment seminars and promotional events including a business networking event where Fuggles & Warlock provided samples.
To learn more about British Columbia’s thriving agrifood and beverage sector, contact our international Trade and Investment Representatives.