A major export contract to supply its award-winning bottled spring water to Vietnam has been won by Harrogate Water Brands.
The contract, following an introduction to a Far East distributor, is the latest export success by the company charged with re-vitalising Harrogate’s spring water industry since a decision by the board to target exports only three years ago.
Exporting to Vietnam follows sales to Russia and The Middle East after the independent company’s decision to invest £8m in stepping up production of its still and sparkling spring water in 2014.
Initial international success came when the business entered the airline market after an approach by Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong, later followed by deals with others, including Emirates and Thomson Airways, and Harrogate Water Brand’s development of an anti-roll bottle for easy in-flight handling.
The company, which started by building sales in the food service sector where founding members of the sales team had expertise, receives support and advice from overseas trade specialist, Chamber International, and the Department for International Trade.
Now the company, which started production in 2002, has grown to 84 staff and a £20m turnover of which 10 per cent is generated by overseas sales.
Harrogate Water Brands export and new business development manager, Greg Hatton, said:
Accessing the Vietnamese market is another significant step in making Harrogate Spring Water a major global brand on the ground as well as in the air.
There has been a fantastic reception from overseas since we started exporting due to a combination of Harrogate Water’s heritage and classic presentation, through to confidence in our quality, high standards of production and environmental focus.
Chamber International does a great job in assisting us with advice and support to ensure the smooth operation of our exports as we continue to build sales overseas and it makes a significant contribution to our success.
Harrogate Water Brand’s success in Russia followed strong connections with Harrogate which have existed since the Russian royal family were frequent visitors to the spa town to ‘take the waters’ dating back to the late 1800s.
The first mineral water spring in Harrogate was discovered by Queen Elizabeth I’s physician who recommended its health benefits to his patients and Harrogate became known as ‘the English Spa’ attracting wealthy visitors from throughout Europe and the British Empire.
In 1740, the town produced the first bottled water and by 1914 became a major exporter, largely due to a need to keep the troops hydrated from Yorkshire to Bombay. Harrogate Water Brands, which draws and bottles perfectly-balanced mineral water at its site in Harlow Moor Road, was launched in 2002 after Harrogate Council decided to re-start production and put a contract out to tender.
Chamber International director, Tim Bailey said:
Harrogate Water is one of Britain’s best loved brands with a fascinating heritage and we are pleased to be supporting it in a new era of global success.
Chamber International helps hundreds of new and experienced exporters throughout the UK with a wide range of specialist services to make exporting easier and more cost effective.