John Bryant, No-Li’s co-founder, told Brewbound.com that the decision to export the company’s beer over 4,000 miles away from home was largely based on its success in international competitions.
“We know our beer travels well,” he said. “We are winning medals around the globe and this makes a ton of sense for No-Li. It is nice validation for something to be selected for distribution internationally.”
Earning distribution in Sweden is no simple task, Bryant said. Before any imported beer can be sold Sweden, it must pass a rigorous government taste test. And No-Li’s Crystal Bitter ESB and Born & Rasied IPA apparently caught the attention of government officials at last fall’s Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival. 500 cases of IPA and ESB beers will begin their journey to Western Europe on Monday, Bryant said.
No-Li joins a growing list of popular craft beer brands like Stone Brewing Company, Oskar Blues Brewing and Brooklyn Brewery, whose products are witnessing increased acceptability overseas. In fact, Brooklyn Brewery’s number two market (behind New York City) is Sweden.
The Brewers Association reported that over 110,000 barrels of beer from American craft breweries was exported in 2011. With over 13,000 barrels imported, Sweden was ranked as the second largest market, behind Canada, on that list.
Bryant expects more U.S. craft breweries to look at exporting as a way to grow overall production volume.
“If No-Li from Spokane can go to Sweden and compete, I bet there are plenty of breweries on the East Coast that can too,” he said. “Maybe there is a larger community to reach beyond our borders.”