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Invest NI puts fizz in drinks firm with plans to make product global

Directors of Boozeberries, Barbara and Stuart Hughes with Invest NI's Food Director Maynard Mawhinney Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

A CO Down drinks company is to grow exports to the US, Europe, and Australia in a £450,000 investment.

Husband and wife team Stuart and Barbara Hughes started Boozeberries just over a year ago and the firm, which makes berry liqueurs, has already won a string of international awards for its produce.

Now the couple is launching a drive to step up production and drive business in target markets outside Northern Ireland with financial assistance of £45,000 from Invest NI.

The firm is expected to employ six people by the end of 2013.

The company recently won gold and silver medals at the recent Wines and Spirits Wholesalers of America tasting competition in Orlando, Florida and also picked up accolades in the UK Great Taste Awards.

Mr Hughes said that such recognition had been "immensely encouraging" and showed that the business has tremendous potential, particularly in such a competitive market.

"We are exploiting this potential by implementing an aggressive marketing campaign and we expect sales outside Northern Ireland to contribute around 75% of business by 2013," he said. "Feedback from the listings we've already achieved with Tesco and Sainsbury's in Northern Ireland, and Superquinn, Donnybrook Fair and Dublin International Airport in the Republic has been extremely positive.

"Invest NI's encouragement and assistance will be invaluable and will support our marketing strategy to establish the brand and position the products at the premium end of the market."

Assistance for Boozeberries, particularly in key areas such as marketing and design, was announced by Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI's Food Director, during a visit to the company.