The Grapevine

The WSTA's views, distilled.

Women With Bottle - the women behind the wine & spirits industry, Rebekah Kendrick

8th November 2016

Our Parliamentary Affairs Manager is a front line advocate for women in the wine & spirits industry, demonstrated at our recent UK Parliament event.

“If you google the phrase “Master Distiller”, the first 39 images are of men - often slightly more matured, accompanied with a beard, scrutinising a glass of whisky. Likewise, considering what a chemist carefully testing the agricultural conditions for growing grapes might look like, may have you jump to the conclusion of a man.

“But these abstract images couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I wanted to dispel this all-male myth and demonstrate not only the presence of women in the wine and spirits industry, but the contribution they bring. Little did I know what I would find.

“Women have played a vital role in the sector all along, beginning with the first device for distilling plant extract being created by Maria Hebraea, through to there being more women than men among the new Masters of Wine in 2014.

“The WSTA event I organised aimed to recognise these pioneers. Aptly titled, ‘Women With Bottle’, the Parliamentary reception was generously hosted by Tim Loughton MP of the Wine & Spirit APPG and Flick Drummond MP of the Women & Work APPG. It highlighted the breadth of roles taken up by women in the industry today - from market innovators, sommeliers and Managing Directors, to master distillers, chemists, technologists and analysts. To reinforce this point, I invited many of our wine and spirit champions who have taken the industry by storm and continue to inspire more and more women every day.

“I am proud to say that 43% of the industry is made up of women, approximately 96,000 jobs (revealed in our new WSTA report published today). And – speaking of proud – you can find that women make up 53% of the WSTA workforce!

“So, next time you find yourself sipping on one of Britain’s fine gins, the chances are it will have been crafted, distilled, bottled, marketed and sold by a women. Women have had and will continue to have a bright future and a wealth of opportunity in an equally bright industry. So here’s to the #WomenWithBottle.”

You can read the full report here.



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The Government’s Plan of Action to boost UK Food and Drink exports


Trade Veteran and International Affairs Director at the WSTA - Louise Foxwell welcomes the UK Government’s International Food and Drink Action Plan

The WSTA is a supporting partner of the UK Government’s Action Plan. We have always worked hard to identify target markets and help our members to succeed in selling their goods overseas.

 “The UK has in the past been reluctant to shout about the excellent drink and food it has to offer. We are extremely proud of working with government to highlight the quality of our great English wine and British spirit products. There is a massive appetite for English wine and British spirits overseas and it is vital we look at ways of targeting new markets which will allow industry to fulfil its export ambitions.

“The UK Government has set itself the target of assisting up to 200 beer, wine, cider and spirit companies with export development. This is a great opportunity for the many producers spread across the whole of the UK to garner that extra support to help them grow abroad.

“To build on these developments, the Government has also stated its intention to set up a targeted programme of inward and outward business visits internationally, including the USA, China, Canada, Germany and Italy.

“Having worked closely with members of the WSTA Exports Committee I know how important it is for the wine and spirit companies to have access to new markets. Government can provide invaluable connections to smooth the routes into these markets. We have quality products, such as our English sparkling wine and British gin and Defra’s International Food and Drink Action Plan is a great tool to boost their export sales.

“Additionally, the Government has pledged to provide easily accessible guidance and information on market access and tariff issues. But of course it goes without saying that Brexit will bring about changes to the trading landscape. The WSTA is equipped with experts to advise members on conducting business both at home and abroad.”

The Government's full International Action Plan can be read here

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