Overseas growth is a winner for coffee specialist as it takes top spot in Fast Track rankings

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 10 Jul 2018

Northern Lincolnshire’s private-label coffee wholesaler, Lincoln & York, has been recognised for its international growth with the coveted top spot in The Sunday Times HSBC International Fast Track 200. 

The report ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales, measured over their latest two years of available accounts.

And while it has blossomed on the back of the UK coffee market explosion, it has also capitalised on other emerging markets.

Targeting countries such as Poland, Holland, Ireland, France and Denmark has helped sales grow by 265 per cent over the two-year period – which equates to an impressive £7.2m in sales – 20 per cent of its current annual turnover.

It is aiming to more than double that again.

Read more:Capital launch for regional coffee specialist's cold brew brand

Director James Sweeting said: “We’re delighted to be named as the UK’s number one International Fast Track 200 company, particularly among some household names. The dedication of our staff and our ability to meet our clients’ needs have always stood us in good stead to expand globally.

“Now, we are looking at even further growth abroad by growing our overseas sales to equate to 50 per cent of our annual turnover.

“Our coffee is sold in at least one coffee shop on every British high street and with the facilities in place, we’ve realised our ability to expand overseas and offer our service and expertise to the wider European market.”

Mr Sweeting puts the success down to the focus on quality, as well as capacity. Four in-house Q Grader coffee tasters taste 200 cups of coffee per day, and develop custom blends for customers from 40 locations across the globe – including Brazil, Colombia and Kenya.  This has enabled them to be competitive on pricing and also provide a tailored service to cater for a wide-range of clientele.

Read more: Lincoln & York taster leads in Europe

With a 600kg custom-built coffee roaster – the largest in the UK – at the base on Elsham Wold Industrial Estate, the company has the capacity to continue its expansion across Europe as it looks to meet the ambitious target. 

Additionally, the opening of a sales office in Poland – the first outside of the UK – will bolster their overseas expansion, as they continue to delve further into the northern European market, which is a far cry from their humble beginnings.

Established in 1994, Mr Sweeting, a former coffee buyer, and Simon Herring, a previous coffee trader, began hand roasting coffee in a garden shed before selling into local coffee shops, golf clubs and even hairdressers. Sales are now in excess of £30 million and the company employs 100 people.

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