Environment Secretary Liz Truss welcomed new figures showing British beer is drunk in more countries than ever before as she visited the Ilkley Brewery today.
The Wharfedale business is among the British brewers who exported 1.1 billion pints to 113 countries last year generating £630 million for the economy.
Mrs Truss, who was raised in Leeds, was told about the success of the business which was only launched five years ago and is now producing up to 50,000 pints per week and employing 14 people.
She said: “I have had beer from the Ilkley Brewery before, I was really impressed by it, and when I heard about how successful the company had been in exporting, particular to the US - 17, 000 bottles a year, I think that’s an incredible achievement.
“Yorkshire produces a third of all the beer in the UK so this is a fantastic beer county and I want to do more to promote British food and drink both in this country and overseas.”
While British beer sells well overseas, pubs in this country continue to close but Mrs Truss said the Government was acting.
“We have put in place the community right to buy for rural pubs and I’ve seen some very successful examples.
“There’s a lot we can do in terms of rural communities making sure that all the services work well together and we are using pubs for things like providing school dinners.
“We have also frozen beer duty which is an important measure the Government has taken,” she said.
Richard Shelton, director at the Ilkley Brewery, said: “Our strongest export area at the moment is to the USA where we have a distributor who likes our brand and beers.
“It is a small but growing area of our business.”
He said the biggest challenge facing brewers trying to export was to meet the different regulations of each country in terms of packaging and labelling of alcoholic products.