Juice producers and soft drink businesses will join brewers and vineyards in a new drinks cluster being developed in Wales.
To be officially announced at Food and Drink Wales’s BlasCymru/TasteWales event on 23 March by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, the cluster is set to be a key element of the Welsh Government’s long term economic plan for the food and drink industry.
There are currently beer, cider, bottled water, juices and wine producers operating across Wales and the new cluster network will see producers of all sizes and locations come together to tackle sector wide issues, share best practice and develop and grow the drinks sector.
Membership will be open to all Welsh drinks businesses, with a range of discussions and activities aimed at unleashing further innovation as well as solving common sector-wide problems.
The new cluster will join several others already in existence under Food and Drink Wales, such as the seafood cluster, nutriwales cluster and a fine food cluster, though this will be the first of its kind for the drinks sector.
Linked with a range of wider Welsh Government supported initiatives such as Food Innovation Wales, the clusters provide businesses with the platform and knowledge needed to overcome common barriers and exploit commercial opportunities. Activities undertaken will include sharing resources, piloting new service provision and accessing new research.
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, commented ahead of the official launch:
“Our existing clusters have proved to be a successful way to create a network across various food and drink sub sectors to improve best practice, share ideas and develop businesses together. With the launch of the drinks cluster, I look forward to seeing the drink industry in Wales continue to thrive and grow in the future.”
Andy Richardson, Chair of the Wales Food and Drink Industry Board added,
“The drinks sector in Wales is hugely diverse with dozens of businesses great and small producing all manner of alcoholic and soft drink beverages. This new cluster is a great platform for cross-sector communication and is also set to benefit every producer individually as well as to push the whole industry forward.”