Category: news (page 1 of 5)

Sovereign Beverage Company wins exclusive global export agreement with Greene King

We are pleased to announce that we have confirmed our new agreement with Greene King, giving us exclusivity on the global distribution of Greene King products.


Greene King, who have been brewing for more than 200 years, are part of our premium portfolio of British beverage brands including Thatchers Cider, Robinsons Brewery (Trooper by Iron Maiden), and Carlsberg Marston’s.


We’ve already been working with Greene King for a number of years on a non-exclusive basis, and this latest agreement means we will now be managing the full portfolio worldwide, taking the final three markets in house throughout the course of 2023.


Richard Honey, Sales Director Off-Trade, e-Comm & Export at Greene King said: “We are delighted to have Sovereign as our exclusive distribution partner across all territories. Over the years Sovereign has provided an invaluable service to us helping us navigate the challenges of both Brexit and Covid. Their clear focus on customer service, improving efficiency and reducing complexity, makes them the ideal company for us to work with.”


First launched in 1799, Greene King is now the UK’s leading pub company and brewer with c.2,600 pubs, restaurants and hotels and breweries in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and the Belhaven Brewery in Scotland. Greene King’s industry-leading portfolio includes Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen, Abbot Ale, Ice Breaker, Belhaven Best and its newest premium beer additions, Level Head and Flint Eye, brewed for the modern-day drinker.


Our Founder David Davies said: “We’re delighted to be adding the rest of the Greene King market to our portfolio of premium brands. We’ve already conducted two market visits in the USA, and China and France will follow later this year”.”


To find out more about our portfolio, visit here or to find out more about becoming one of our export partners, visit here. Alternatively, contact

Sovereign Beverage Company Bike Ride for Charity

Our Founder and MD, David Davies, is doing his bit for charity this year by embarking on a bike ride across South America later this month. The journey is expected to be a gruelling one and will be completed over four days between January 28th and February 4th.


The tour will start on the famous cobblestone streets of San Telmo in Buenos Aires, and then take a detour through Conchillas, Uruguay, where riders will refresh themselves at Bodega Zubizarreta, one of the country’s oldest wineries, before the cyclists head back to the Argentine capital for the final leg of the course.


The trip has been organised by legendary Iron Maiden manager, Rod Smallwood, following the first Truants charity bike ride in 2010, and progressively harder annual efforts, raising a collective £4.8m.


After many years of successful fundraising by The Truants, The Truant Foundation gained charitable status in 2019. This won’t be the first time SBC and Iron Maiden have teamed up. The Blackburn-based company oversaw the introduction of the band’s iconic ale, Trooper, to overseas markets in 2013.


The Truants organise a yearly bike ride to raise funds for three UK-based children’s charities: Nordoff Robbins, Childline and Teenage Cancer Trust. They have set a target of £250,000 for this year’s event, and all participants pay for their own costs related to the ride so that 100% of the money donated goes to the charities.


David is currently cycling 70 miles a day on his Peloton, and battling the British weather to prepare for the journey.


If you’d like to show your support for David, you can donate here.

Sovereign Beverage Company raises a glass to its new recruits

Following our strongest year to date, we are pleased to announce that we have expanded the team with the recruitment of a Senior Sales Manager and the internal promotion of two employees.


We have invested in the growth of the team following another successful year; we’ve seen revenues grow by 171% since 2019. The volume of our year-on-year hectolitres of alcohol sold has also increased by almost a third, to 50,000 HL. 2022 has been the strongest year to date for us, and we are celebrating with a hat-trick of new appointments.


Chris Holland will be joining us in the new year as Senior Sales Manager, and he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the drinks trade to the role. He is a seasoned sales account manager who has worked across a diverse range of positions in the beverages and hospitality sectors. He started his career working in his parents’ bistro and most recently found himself handling a multimillion-pound account at the drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark.

We are also thrilled to share that we’ve also rewarded the talent and hard work of the employees who have made the company such a success in recent years, by promoting two of our existing staff members to new roles.


Craig Johnstone has been recognised for his efforts as head of our sales department with a promotion to the position of Sales Director. Craig joined us in 2018 as an export sales manager and will now take on a more strategic role as we look to pursue further growth in overseas markets.


At the same time, Tom Fitzmaurice has been promoted to the newly created position of Operations Manager after eight years with us. He will report directly to the Operations Director, Morgan Holden.


Our Founder, David has said “it’s been another incredible year at Sovereign; we’ve brought on new and re-contracted suppliers, expanded our product range, and entered new overseas markets. To be able to grow the team – especially in an economic downturn – is a huge achievement and moves SBC closer to our overall vision of 100,000 HL by 2025”.

SBC acknowledged at Be Inspired Business Awards (BIBAs) 2022

We are thrilled to announce that earlier this month (September 22), we were recognised as one of the best in the county, taking home a ‘Highly Commended’ acknowledgement in the Global Business of the Year category at this year’s prestigious Be Inspired Business (BIBA) awards.

This was our first year entering the BIBAs, and everyone at the company is thrilled with the result. Our founder, David said of the accolade: “Given the calibre of businesses that were in our category, I am absolutely thrilled we have been recognised in this way. This is a fantastic acknowledgement that we are moving in the right direction. We have a wonderful team here at Sovereign and this award is recognition for all their hard work and fantastic efforts over the past twelve months.”

We attended the awards night in all our finery, joining host and Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole at the impressive Blackpool Tower Ballroom on Friday 16th September. Following the awards ceremony, boyband Blue provided the after-party entertainment – something the SBC team thoroughly enjoyed!

Run by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, the BIBAs are the county’s longest-running and largest business awards ceremony and are billed as ‘the one they all want to win’.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, who organise the BIBAs, said: “The event was a perfect celebration after a tough two plus years for the county’s business community.

“Lancashire businesses have used innovation, enthusiasm and sheer hard work to overcome so many challenges over recent years and The BIBAs was the perfect way to
recognise them. Regardless of the sector they are in or the size of the business they have all had to dig deep and rely on the character their people to get through this tough
period. The successes we celebrated at The BIBAs were a recognition of a real collective success by so many people”.

We’re already looking forward to next year’s ceremony and results!


Two Hobgoblin brews have claimed Gold at this year’s World Beer Awards, with Hobgoblin Gold being named the UK’s Best Golden Beer while Hobgoblin IPA was once more crowned the UK’s Best English Style IPA.

The World Beer Awards are an annual competition judged by brewing industry veterans, running globally to celebrate the very best that beer has to offer in all internationally recognised styles. Hobgoblin IPA’s success continues its winning streak, having achieved the title every year from 2020 as well as earning the distinction of winning World’s Best IPA in 2018.

Both Hobgoblin Gold and Hobgoblin IPA, as Country Winners, will now go to the global round of the World Beer Awards to compete to be the World’s Best in their categories later this year.

Joanne Wyke, Brand Manager for Hobgoblin, said: “We’re delighted to have Hobgoblin Gold and Hobgoblin IPA named the UK’s Best Beers in their style by the World Beer Awards.

To receive such prestigious awards for our beers, judged by some of the most respected industry figures, is testament to the skill and efforts of our fantastic brewing team. Our continued success wouldn’t be possible without the many dedicated people working with Hobgoblin on packaging, quality control, process and beyond who make sure our beers are enjoyed at their finest by everyone.

“Hobgoblin’s recognition by the World Beer Awards, coupled with our beer’s phenomenal growth over the past few years, shows we’ve more than achieved our ambition to show that beauty lies within.

“We’re all very excited to see what the future holds next for Hobgoblin, and hope the win inspires new drinkers to discover their next favourite beer.”

The achievements at the World Beer Awards 2022 reinforces Hobgoblin’s position as one of the leading premium ale brands in the UK. The news follows the launch of Hobgoblin’s newest beer, Hobgoblin Session IPA, currently available exclusively at Lord’s Cricket Ground and Edgbaston Stadium before making its way to pubs across the country.

Hobgoblin, the premium ale brand from Wychwood Brewery, is part of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company’s portfolio of British ales and is available in export via Sovereign Beverage Company.

Belhaven Brands pick up More Awards 2022

Belhaven Brewery has scooped three prizes at the prestigious 2022 Monde Selection Awards. Belhaven Scottish Ale and Belhaven Scottish Oat Stout both won Golds, while Belhaven Wee Heavy clinched a Silver medal.

These three classic Scottish beers received the awards in the Beers, Waters and Soft Drinks category and follow a successful 2021 for the Brewery, who opened a brand new Visitor Experience, and won a Country Winner award for Scottish Oat Stout at the World Beer Awards in 2021 and 2022.

The Monde Selection awards are judged on five elements – taste, global judgment, visual effect, odour and packaging with all three beers impressing the Jury of the 61st World Selection Awards.

We are delighted that our beers continue to be recognised by experts as top in class for consistently great quality product and marketing. Our brewers are passionate that every beer that leaves our brewery is of the finest quality.

All three of these beers form part of our Belhaven Discovery Range which offer the drinker quality products, but also the chance to explore different beers from the norm. It is great to see them clinch such prestigious awards and I hope many people will continue to enjoy them for years to come.

Scottish Ale, Scottish Oat Stout and Wee Heavy have very varied tastes and flavour profiles and offer up new occasions to experience them, such as food pairings, as well as allowing the drinker to explore and experience everything Belhaven has to offer.

Sovereign transition to remote working permanently

David Davies is the Founder and MD of Sovereign Beverage Company, the UK’s leading exporter of premium beverages. After a successful transition to remote working during COVID, David has recently relinquished the company offices in favour of permanent home working for his team. Here, he shares advice on what other founders need to consider before they implement remote working permanently.

It’s hard to believe that just over two years ago, much of Britain’s workforce found itself working from home overnight. The enforced lockdowns created an historic shift for many businesses, and while home working used to be seen as a perk, it has now become the norm. Surveys show that almost half of the professional workforce are interested in remote working becoming a permanent fixture, with respondents giving reasons such as saving time, saving money, and increased flexibility.

Forward-thinking companies are taking note and offering remote working, with a survey from the Institute of Directors finding that 79% of leaders intend to implement remote working in the long term. Remote working has been found to reduce rates of burnout, and increase employee well-being, productivity, engagement, and feelings of inclusion.

So how can SMEs successfully make the transition to remote working, and what are some of the elements leaders need to consider before deciding if it’s the right decision for their business?

1. Develop your remote working policies and onboard the team fully

Having clear guidelines laid out in an easily accessible policy will help to prevent any confusion for your team. Things to consider include working hours, virtual meeting structure, methods of communication, reporting, device security, and home-working environment. Keep them fluid, at least initially, and take the team through a session together to train them in the new guidelines.

2. Change your recruitment process

This is particularly important when recruiting and onboarding a new starter. You might initially conduct interviews over video call, but an in-person second interview and new starter meeting will assist the onboarding process and help to build that relationship. Encourage the existing team to schedule 1:1 calls to meet and get to know the new starter as well. Look at implementing a buddy system, pairing a new starter with a more experienced colleague to help guide through their induction period.  Check in with them daily at first to ensure they are feeling welcome and supported.

3. Develop social interaction

Allowing the team to have informal channels of communication will help to replace the ‘water cooler’ chat that will be missing from a remote working environment. It’s also useful to build in catch up time to your regular calls, taking ten minutes at the start of the week to find out how the team’s weekends were. You can also plan virtual events such as coffee breaks and after work drinks (with favoured beverages provided by the company in advance) which will help to bond the team and increase a sense of belonging. We’ve held quizzes, bingo nights, and Christmas drinks over video conferencing with great success.

4. Reassess your tech stack

Having several different communications options is key, and it’s worth having both video conferencing and instant messaging available, as well as email. Allowing the team to have informal channels of communication will help to replace the ‘water cooler’ chat that will be missing from a remote working environment. Do you have a ‘one-stop-shop’ for knowledge sharing, document storage, and project management that all team members can access, so that no-one has to waste time waiting for information? What software does the team need to be able to be most efficient?

5. Review each home working environment

Particularly important when making the change from office working to remote working. Does each member of your team have the space and equipment they need to work productively? What do they need to put in place to make this happen? Things to consider include ergonomic desks and chairs, high-speed internet, noise-cancelling headsets, as well as possible alternatives if their home environment isn’t suitable for home working. Transitioning your team to remote working may come with an investment into their environment.

6. Have in-person events where possible

While a full-time office environment may no longer be suitable for your business, keeping some in person meetings and events is great for maintaining employee connection and morale. You may find it useful to have a once-a-month team meeting to bring everyone together at a venue, or biannual team building and social events where the objective is fun, not work.

7. Be flexible

When an employee transitions from office-based to home-based, it’s important to be flexible about the environment they are now in. While it’s reasonable to expect your team members to create a dedicated workspace and a distraction-free setting, it should be remembered that the building they are in is a home first and foremost – there may be background noises that you wouldn’t normally find in an office!



Meet David Davies, Founder of Sovereign Beverage Company

Sovereign Beverage Company is the UK’s leading exporter of premium beverages. We work with UK-based suppliers to give them a global presence, managing their export operations for them and securing listings with our customers overseas.

We make export simple by offering a turnkey solution to our suppliers, and by giving our customers an export-complaint, reliable supply of premium products, at brewery-direct prices.

We currently work with a portfolio of over 130 products from seven carefully selected suppliers, all of whom are UK beverage producers including Greene King, Saltaire Brewery, Thatchers Cider, Robinsons Brewery, Carlsberg-Marstons Brewing Company, Innis & Gunn, and Westons Cider.

We have customers in over 60 countries, ranging from retailers, distributors, and wholesalers, both on- and off-trade. We have over 120 customers globally, including brands such as Carrefour, 7-11, Consum, and Walmart.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I knew from a very young age I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My Dad owned businesses, and at only nine years old I was working for him during the school holidays, developing and honing my work ethic, and becoming familiar with the logistics industry. I studied business and finance at university, before following my Dad into the supply chain business within the beverage industry.

Throughout my career, my goal was always to gain experience and then adopt it to the right business idea when it came along. I was constantly researching different business ideas, looking for a good fit, and as part of that research I read Robert Craven’s ‘Kick-Start Your Business’ – that sparked my first ‘commandments’ of business.

I listed out my 10 commandments, and decided that any business I was going to establish would have to fulfill most, if not all of those commandments.

It was in 2006, when I was working as an Account Director and was meeting with a brewery that an offhand conversation led to the birth of Sovereign Beverage Company. I realised that the brewery in question had an untapped route for sales in the form of global export – but had no infrastructure and the risk was too high for them to take in house.

After talking to many breweries and importers, I saw that there was a huge gap between product availability and global demand, as the breweries lacked the supply chain knowledge, time and other resources to manage their own export.

It was in 2008 that we launched Sovereign Beverage Company, working with leading British beverage suppliers such as Marstons Brewery and Batemans from day one. Since then, we have increased our annual sales by almost 10,000% (in litres sold), expanded to a full-time team of nine, and we’ve become the UK’s leading exporter of premium beverages, with over 10 million pints sold annually worldwide in the year 2021.

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

The pandemic saw huge changes for Sovereign Beverage Company, and we were fortunate to come out of that very challenging period with growth both of our team and revenue.

In 2020, we very quickly adapted to a remote working environment. Our already-established cloud-based system enabled the team to work from home without interruption to their usual tasks, and as a team, we were able to come together using the various e-networking tools at our disposal.

We made the decision not to furlough any of the team, instead choosing to maintain consistency of relationships and to continue the team building and development we had started before the pandemic. We were able to recruit another Export Account Manager into the sales team, and increase the number of markets we operate in.

However, as we know, COVID-19 saw a global shut down – freight was stopped, breweries were working on a hugely reduced capacity with export operations taking a backseat, and customers were prevented from importing goods due to their own local restrictions – for instance, South Africa and Thailand temporarily banned the sale of alcohol, Brazil and much of the EU was placed under curfew, restaurants were closed globally and when they eventually reopened, it was with much lower capacity – all of which negatively affected our customers’ sales, which in turn reduced their export needs with us.

These restrictions and challenges did not improve in 2021 and were in fact exacerbated by the Suez Canal obstruction, which had a very negative impact on freight. There were still global vessel and container shortages, and production costs continued to rise. However, 2021 was our best year to date despite these difficulties.

The team’s productivity only improved with the onset of working from home, which we have recently decided to make a permanent thing. Through a combination of continued efforts and the signing of an excellent product (Trooper beer), we were able to ‘unlock’ South America. This is a largely untapped market due to the complexity of product registration,

and so it became a key, lucrative market. We’ve developed new, exciting ways of supporting our existing customers, allowing us to increase their product ranges and become more involved with the marketing process for the end purchaser. We’ve also made enormous strides in securing exclusive distributions with key suppliers.

What can we hope to see from Sovereign Beverage Company in the future?

A lot!

We currently sell 55,000 Hectolitres (HL) of product annually, and our goal is to increase that to 100,000HL by 2024. We’re going to drive that through our existing suppliers, and bring on some new suppliers in key categories. We are excited to keep developing partnerships with the UKs leading beverage brands.

We also intend to expand our product categories, potentially looking at RTDs and low/no-alcohol brands. The growth of low/no products is huge, and we intend to support our customers with the development of this category.

We are also looking at expanding our product line, potentially looking at global products rather than UK products only. We will use our model, processes, and systems to feed those into our current customer base.

Finally, we will continue with the growth of the team, recruiting annually, and continuing to invest in ongoing training and development.

Source: TechRound


Sovereign Beverage Company supports Ukraine with much needed humanitarian aid

Sovereign Beverage Company along with its supply partners is providing a support package worth £17,000 for their retail customer in Ukraine. 


Sovereign Beverage Company has historically counted Ukraine as their largest export market, with their UK premium beer and ciders growing in popularity and sales year on year. 


The Ukrainian supermarket chain SILPO, the second largest in the country is a longstanding customer of Sovereign, and it has reached out looking for support with donations of long life food and drinks. 


David Davies, Founder, and MD of Sovereign Beverage Company said: “All pending deals and future deals were cancelled overnight. Ukraine has been placed under martial law, so international banking has been stopped as well as the sale of non-essential items like alcohol. This restriction on trade has had a big financial impact on SILPO. We’ve been looking for ways we can support them, and are pleased to share that we have put a package together with the help of our supply partners, here in the UK”.


Sovereign has spearheaded the campaign, with the sales team reaching out to their supply partners and industry colleagues to make donations for products that Ukraine sorely needs. Sovereign has sponsored the first pallet of soft drinks, with AG Barr, Bibendum Wines, Britivic, Carlsberg-Marstons Brewing Company, Greene King, Innis & Gunn, Robinsons Brewery, and Westons Cider each stepping forward to sponsor a pallet, along with a further donor who wishes to remain anonymous. 


The 10 pallets are being shipped this month to SILPO, where the donated stock will enable SILPO to provide support for the front line which includes the army and doctors defending their independence.


Vladyslav Bolva, Import Manager for Fozzy Group, the parent company for SILPO said: “We want to give as much help as we can to our citizens and the army, so the humanitarian aid that is being offered by Sovereign Beverage Company is much appreciated. Though our shelves are empty, we are keeping our stores open where possible, and this donation of soft drinks will help immensely.” 


David concluded with: “We are pleased to be able to help the people of Ukraine through our support of SILPO, and we are grateful to all of the fantastic brands who have come on board to donate a pallet. We will continue to explore options for further support as the crisis continues, and our thoughts are with everyone caught up in this atrocity.”

Ukraine and Russia Update – Export difficulties

In 2019, UK exports to the Ukraine totalled £7.35million, and were estimated to be in excess of £7.5million in 2021. Though not a significant trade partner for the UK (accounting for only 0.1% of total trade), Ukraine plays a vital part in many UK export agreements.

Both Russia and Ukraine are a key export market for alcoholic beverages, in particular beer and cider. Sovereign Beverage Company Ltd, the UK’s leading exporter of premium beverages, counted the Ukraine as their largest export market last year, exporting premium British brands such as Robinsons Brewery, Westons Cider and Saltaire Brewery.

Due to the Russian invasion, Ukraine has been placed under restrictions, one of which includes banning the sale of all alcohol in order to prioritise essential items. This has resulted in an immediate cancellation of all pending orders, as well as a complete review of forecasted sales for 2022.

A further difficulty for all businesses exporting to Ukraine is that martial law was imposed from 24th February 2022 for a 30-day period. Under martial law, the National Bank of Ukraine has imposed a ban on transferring payments abroad for all but critical imports. The decision will be reviewed at the end of March, and it is anticipated that the limitation will be continued.

This restriction means that suppliers with outstanding invoices can’t be paid. For companies like Sovereign Beverage Company who have extended credit to their Ukrainian customers, this will result in a potential default in payment, leaving them liable with their insurers for a % of the total invoice.

This article was first published on TechRound

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