Thistly Cross Cider was born as a collaboration between farmer Ian Rennie and artist-turned-cider-maker Peter Stuart in 2008.
Five years on, having carved out a name for itself as an award-winning Scottish cider company, Thistly Cross began looking to expand its overseas markets with the help of Enterprise Europe Network Scotland.
In 2013, Enterprise Europe Network Scotland helped the East Lothian-based producer establish a commercial partnership by providing international financial data and enabling connections with a pool of potential distributors.
“I had a meeting with Debbie Walker at Enterprise Europe Network Scotland, told her all about Thistly Cross Cider and she outlined ways in which they could help by using their network,” explains Julia Rennie, company director.
The support allowed Thistly Cross to explore opportunities in an exciting Nordic market.
‘Finland has a strong cider market,” says Julia. “Debbie did a lot of research for us and there were several distributors who were interested in our offering.”
Julia soon travelled to Finland and met with three distributors who she found to have like-minded brand values. Being able to see the distributors’ premises, the way they operated, and the way that they presented themselves helped Thistly Cross select a distributor they felt would work well with their business.
‘It was really difficult to choose between such strong distributors,’ says Julia. ‘We went with Brew Seeker Oy in the end. They are a relatively new company that specialises in the craft beer and cider market and has a real interest and passion in the products it represents.
She returned to Scotland with a commercial contract and the company’s first order from Brew Seeker.
The business is currently exploring further opportunities in Europe and continues to make use of the free business information and partnering opportunities offered through EEN Scotland.
“I would absolutely recommend EEN Scotland to other companies,” Julia adds. “Debbie was fantastic. She put a lot of time in on our behalf and made the effort to really understand who we are and what we’re about, before helping us to research and identify the best opportunities to continue our International growth.”
To find out how EEN Scotland could support your business, get in touch today. [firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Thistly Cross Ciders, visit their website: http://www.thistlycrosscider.co.uk/
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