Banks Caribbean Lager Beer and other Bajan brands are gaining increasing recognition in the UK.
Minister for Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman, and Permanent Secretary Ruth Blackman, travelled to London recently to view the increasing kudos for all things Bajan. Also in attendance was a delegation from the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, including board member Muriel Robinson and Business Development Officer Denise Lawrence.
Two action packed evenings in London on July 11 and 12 at the Barbados High Commission and the Banks Beer Launch at Cottons Caribbean Restaurant in Camden respectively, saw Kellman address the companies successfully helping to export the finest beverages, food and crafts from Barbados.
“This is a momentous occasion, probably unsurpassed by any other export effort in recent history to this country,” declared Kellman during the launch. “The response to Banks Beer has been phenomenal and some would even say that it has exceeded expectations. This can be attributed to the efforts of all the stakeholders on the ground, including Mr. Peter Martin, Mr. Richard Bateson and Marstons PLC (in the UK), the Barbados High Commission and the Government of Barbados through the BIDC and other agencies.
“Your hard work has certainly paid off. But I think we all would agree that the biggest player in the field is Banks Barbados Breweries, which has produced a world-class product that all involved were proud to share with the rest of the world, including the people of the United Kingdom.”
The brands on display included Banks Caribbean Lager Beer, as well as a myriad of Bajan sauces, beverages, cakes and crafts under the Taste of Barbados banner. Banks Beer was cited as one of Barbados’ greatest exports.
Richard Bateson of The Craft Beer Company, Banks’ UK distributor, said: “Kellman visited a number of supermarkets whilst in London to gain a better understanding of the UK retail sector, particularly relating to the market place that Banks Beer operates within. The minister proved he hasn’t lost the salesman touch when he successfully sold the benefits of Banks Beer to a new Banks consumer who went home happy after taking the minister’s advice and purchased a Banks whilst in TESCO.”
“Banks Beer is perceived as key to increasing the profile of all Bajan products, as well as the island as a whole, in the UK and the EU. The uplift this offers to the Bajan economy cannot be dismissed with the potential for an influx of the all important foreign currencies,” he added.
“The launch of the lager in the UK with Tesco has satisfied the long held wish of the UK’s Bajan communities to be able to buy Banks in the UK. Banks is also crossing over into the mainstream consumers’ consciousness given the fact it is now available in over 290 TESCO’s nationwide.”
Banks Beer’s export effort is lead by the BCL (Barbados) Ltd beverage team headed by CEO Ray Chee-A-Tow.