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The Brussels company Beer Mania, which produces artisanal beers and distributes more than 400 references, concluded a partnership agreement with its Japanese counterpart Highbury for exporting Belgian beers to Japan. A negotiated agreement through the support of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), which supports the internationalisation of European SMEs and which BECI is contact point in Brussels.

Michaël Eftekhari, the manager of Beer Mania, had approached EEN in order to help him to explore the Japanese market. On the spot, this work was carried out by the local partner of EEN, the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, who identified the Japanese company Highbury-The Home Of Beer as a potential partner.

‘I were looking for an exporter of Belgian beers’, explains Kohei Ando, Director of Highbury.“I had the opportunity to do this search via the Internet, but I found a reliable exporter with reference to the EU-Japan Centre. This contact had EEN support, which represents a considerable network of SMEs in Europe. In addition, we recommend that any Japanese company seeking advice from European partners should first seek advice from the EU-Japan Centre.’

In December 2019, Michaël Eftekhari went personally to Japan for a meeting with Highbury, organised by the EU-Japan Centre. A short negotiation has been sufficient for both partners to reach an agreement, and the first order of Belgian beers was made at the beginning of 2020.

“This is the first Brussels — Japan Partnership Agreement signed via EEN”, highlights Jean-Philippe Mergen, responsible for the EEN programme at BECI.“There is no doubt that the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, has greatly encouraged trade relations between the two regions: Belgian exports to Japan have already increased by 10 % and Japanese imports in Belgium by 21 %.”

“I am delighted to have managed to gain a foothold in the already saturated Japanese market”, welcomed Mr. Eftekhari.“The next step will be to open a Beer Mania branch in Japan. I am sure that 2020 will be a great year!” Beer Mania hopes to improve its position on the local market, expand its market shares and perhaps create a new job.

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