Why Norfolk whisky boss is saying ‘thank you’ to Donald Trump
PUBLISHED: 12:43 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:16 31 January 2020
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“Thank-you Mr Trump, I’m your number one fan.” That is the message to the US president from Norfolk boss of the English Whisky Company.
Andrew Nelstrop said he has "come out lucky" in the tariff war currently raging between the US and Europe that's putting a crippling 25% tax on Scottish and Irish whisky - but has not been imposed on the English tipple.
And so, while his rival whisky firms are currently battling it out across the Atlantic in a bid to get the devastating duty lifted, Mr Nelstrop, who runs the English Whisky Co, in Roudham, near Thetford, is gearing up for a new "window of opportunity" for his own brand.
And suddenly the US president is Mr Nelstrop's new best friend.
Trump's decision stands to make the Norfolk whisky producer a welcome extra £150,000 and long-term, give him the key to a valuable marketplace. Although Mr Nelstrop is a small producer compared to many Scottish and Irish whisky firms, he could be exporting up to 50,000 bottles a year to the US although is aiming initially for 10,000.
As a result, he is increasing production by around 20% this year.
He said: "You could say I'm Mr Trump's number one fan right now, we've come out lucky. What he's given us is a window of opportunity to get into the US market, we are increasing output as a result but whisky making is a 10 year process so the whisky I am selling now, I made 10 years ago but yes, it means our cashflow will increase as our sales have gone up."
However, Mr Nelstrop said some of the revenue growth would be offset by the fact he's incurred new costs in travelling over to the US to meet distributors along with the fact his whisky, which will sell in the US for around $55 a bottle, has to be put in different sized bottles and labelled differently to the rest of the world.
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He is distributing his whisky across the whole of the US after recruiting a new specialist firm that will import it into the US and distribute it across every single state.
Mr Nelstrop, who set up the firm in 2006 was the first registered whisky distillery to open and operate in England for more than a century. With a tradition of his family growing and processing grain for the past 600 years, the English Whisky Co operates from St George's Distillery using local barley and water.
He currently exports through his website to Germany, Sweden, Malaysia and Australia.
But the rich pickings of the US is a tough market to crack because it is currently the single largest market for Scotch whisky, with single malt exports worth more than £380m in 2018. That year 137m bottles of Scotch were exported to the US - the equivalent of more than four bottles per second.
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