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British Gin exports show record high for half year sales

Exports of British gin have, yet again, broken records reaching £279 million for the first half of 2018, and the WSTA project that this will be the year that exports reach £600 million for the first time.

Last year overseas sales of the juniper-based spirit broke the half a billion-pound mark for the first time - as £530 million worth of British gin was sold abroad.

Thanks to a surge in popularity of British gin, which has been dubbed the ‘ginaissance’, UK gin exports were worth more in the first six months of 2018 than sales for the whole of 2008, when sales overseas were worth £258 million.

Britain sends more gin around the world than it does beef, and exports of the spirit have increased 19% by value in the last six months.

The USA remains the largest importer of UK gin, with sales to the US worth £93 million, up almost £5 million on the same period in 2017. Australia has also caught on to the British gin phenomenon spending £10.3 million on the spirit in the last 6 months, more than doubling sales compared to the same period last year which were worth £4.8 million.

By region, the EU is still by far the biggest destination for UK gin worth £129 million, with the European market seeing growth of 19% in the first half of 2018.

Within the EU, Spain is the largest market worth £43 million followed by the Germans who are showing a growing interest in British gin. In the first half of 2018 the UK exported £21 million worth of British gin to Germany, £10 million more than the first six months of 2017.

Whilst a much smaller slice of total sales, Asia and Oceania both saw growth. There is lots of potential, the WSTA argues, for exporters to capitalise on the thirst for all things ‘Brand Britain’ in emerging markets.

WSTA Chief Executive, Miles Beale, said:

“The global thirst for British gin continues to grow and there is no doubt that those overseas are drawn to the quality of gin made here in the UK.  Gin is a quintessentially British spirit, and perfect for anyone looking to tap into Brand Britain overseas.

We are, by some margin, the largest exporter of gin in the world, with huge potential for growth, and our industry needs to take further advantage of this. On leaving the EU, we want more government support to increase exports to developed markets such as Australia, Japan, China and the US. The EU represents a huge market for British gin, therefore it essential that we secure frictionless trade with Europe to ensure we maintain our position as the world's largest spirits exporter and further boost the UK economy and provide more jobs.”

In a bid to help boost British gin exports further the WSTA is running a programme of export missions showcasing some of our best spirit producers. The WSTA has already taken British gin to Copenhagen, Madrid, Hong Kong and visiting Tokyo later this year.

Domestic gin sales recorded in the 12 months to the end of March 2018 showed almost 55 million bottles of gin, worth almost £1.5 billion, were sold in the UK, up 28% in volume and 33% in value on the same period the previous year.

A YouGov poll recently found gin is now the UK’s most popular spirit with 29% of drinkers voting it their favourite spirit tipple.


Heatwave is good news for UK vineyards

The heatwave continues across Britain, bringing perfect conditions for the UK's vineyards and the potential for a record-breaking harvest.

Chief Executive of the WSTA, Miles Beale, comments:

“2018 is set to be a vintage year for English and Welsh wine following a great start to the growing season. The last bumper year for English wine was back in 2014 when good weather created ideal growing conditions for our grapes, with vineyards across the UK producing the equivalent of 6.3 million bottles of English and Welsh wine that year.

“Since then there has been an increase in the amount of land planted under vine, with one million vines planted in each of the last two years and even more due in 2018. Last year around 5.9 million bottles of English and Welsh wine were produced but vineyards are hoping that 2018 will be even better.

“Thanks to a wet spring followed by the heatwave many of our UK vineyards have benefited from early flowering vines leading to generous grape bunches which are ripening well. The weather, so far, in 2018 is shaping up to provide a bountiful harvest.”

The WSTA has recently updated and published its 2018 English Wine Trail, which can be viewed here.

Wine and spirit duty freeze brings windfall for Treasury

A freeze on alcohol duty at last November’s Budget has given the Treasury a £67 million boost in just four months.

The latest HMRC figures show collections, from December to April, of £3.291 billion on wine and spirit duties, up from £3.224 billion on the same period last year - a 2% increase.

Wine and spirit duty collections continue to increase to record levels. The Treasury is set to cash in on a projected £7.7 billion from wine and spirit revenue for the financial year 2017/18, up £140 million on the previous year.

The Treasury windfall comes after the Wine and Spirit Trade Association called for government to back the UK’s wine and spirit industry and help ease pressure on cash strapped consumers by freezing the UK’s excessive duty rates.

Duty hikes were expected at the November Budget but politicians listened to the WSTA, business and consumer concerns and scrapped planned duty rises.

The freeze in duty meant savings of 8p per bottle of wine, 11p on sparkling wine and 31p on an average priced bottle of spirits for consumers.

The WSTA argued that a freeze would be a win/win for both the Treasury and the wine and spirit industry, and according to latest HMRC figures, the WTSA has been proven right.

The numbers show that between December 2017 and April 2018, all alcohol duty collections – including wine, spirits, beer and cider - increased by 2% on the same period last year, bringing an additional £86 million to Treasury coffers - despite the decision not to increase the rate of duty.

Of this, £67 million came from wine and spirit sales alone, meaning that the wine and spirit industry accounted for 78% of the increase. Wine collections have so far increased £33m (+2%) and spirit collections increased £34m (+2%).

Wine remains top of the revenue collections table, totalling 37% of duty collections but accounting for only 18% of sales by volume.
It is only the second time in 15 years that wine duty has been frozen.

Miles Beale Chief Executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association said:

“We have always said a freeze to alcohol duty is a win/win for both the Treasury, the wine and spirit trade and consumers. We hope the latest windfall to Treasury coffers coming from the Budget freeze encourages the Chancellor to continue to stay in touch with what consumers want and support an industry which is proving to be a real asset to British business by rebalancing the UK’s excessive duty rates in this year’s Budget.”

In March, the WSTA met with the new Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, to highlight how important it is for the UK to redress its excessive alcohol duty rates.

Following Brexit’s impact on the pound, and rising inflation, the wine and spirit trade have faced a tough trading landscape.

A cut or freeze will save great British wine and spirit businesses - which support over 550,000 jobs - thousands of pounds, which can help businesses to invest, grow and create even more jobs.

To help people understand more about alcohol taxation the WSTA have created a video which can be viewed here.

British gin predicts a win for England over Sweden

We’ve had Paul the octopus in 2010, Shaheen the camel in 2014 and Achilles the cat for this summer’s tournament, but the Wine and Spirit Trade Association reckons they have a more scientific method of predicting the winners at this year’s World Cup than animal oracles.

Ahead of this weekend’s mammoth quarter-final clash between England and Sweden, the WSTA has compared the two nations’ gin and wine exports has declared that there’s only one winner - England.

When it comes to gin, the numbers predict a convincing victory for Gareth Southgate’s men. UK exports of gin to Sweden were worth £4.9 million last year, putting Sweden in the top 10 export destinations of British gin in the EU.

By contrast, the Swedes do not export any gin to these shores, a clear indication that England should have this fixture in the bag.

But it’s not just gin predicting a win for England, the UK’s wine exports provide another good omen.

Swedish exports to the UK of wine were worth just over £1.2 million in 2017, whilst wine exports from the UK to Sweden totalled over £15.8 million, giving the UK the (three) lion’s share of the value in this category.

A small proportion of the wine we send to the Swedes is English wine, the bulk of the wine is imported from across the globe, bottled in the UK and re-exported.

Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, said:

“There is increasing optimism here that football is finally coming home, and we think our ‘scientific analysis’ shows that England should come out on top in the clash against Sweden.

“Whilst expectations may have been low for the English football team pre-tournament, consumers around the world know they can expect quality from our high-class gins and wines. The UK’s gin and wine producers have won many global awards for quality in recent times, and it’s about time some of that winning attitude rubbed off on the English football team over the next week in Russia.

“If England win on Saturday we hope the whole country celebrate with a G&T or a glass of English wine. You’ll be using less CO2 and supporting two Great British industries!”

The latest figures from HMRC show that £530 million worth of British gin was sold abroad in 2017, making the UK the biggest gin exporter in the world.

This is the equivalent of around 189 million (70cl) bottles of British gin exported last year up from around 177 million bottles in 2016.

The UK is also the hub of the global wine industry. Much of the wine that is originally imported here is then reshipped to the EU, as well as markets further afield, particularly to the Far East and countries like China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Wine comes in at sixth spot in a list of the UK’s most exported food and drink products, reinforcing the UK’s status as the hub of the world wine industry.

English wine is already exported to Sweden, but with the high quality of English wine now so widely recognised, the English wine industry’s newest challenge is meeting growing demand, and the industry has ambitious plans for growth in the future. 

Jumping Junipers, if Doomsday Brexit is on the horizon the gin could run dry!

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association warns if Brexit ‘doomsday’ dawns Britain could be faced with a gin drought. 

The Government has drawn up a scenario for a no-deal Brexit said to paint a frightening picture of food and ingredient shortages – if the worst-case scenario becomes a reality this could lead to a juniper shortage.

British distillers rely on tonnes of juniper and other botanicals being shipped to the UK each year, predominantly from the Mediterranean.

Other commonly used botanicals found in gin include orange and lemon peels, liquorice, orris root and angelica root – all of which are generally imported. 

If the ports collapse and goods can’t get through some of the UK’s smaller craft gin distillers will be facing extremely testing times.

The gin boom has seen a huge rise in the number of start-ups and distilleries making the juniper based spirit. Britain now boasts 315 distilleries in the UK – more than double the number that were operating across the country five years ago. 

The WSTA’s latest market report released this week shows UK sales of gin have hit yet another record high. 

In the 12 months to the end of March 2018 almost 55 million bottles of gin, worth almost £1.5 billion – up 28% in volume on the same period last year and 33% in value.

This of course is just one example of the headaches facing the wine and spirit industry, a trade which relies on the smooth transition of goods across borders.

Wine businesses face similar nightmare scenarios. 99% of the wine sold in the UK is imported and if stock cannot get in this will lead to depleted supermarket shelves and higher prices for consumers.

The UK wine trade is worth £19.9 billion in economic activity. We imported just under 1.8 billion bottles into Britain in 2017, 900 million of those bottles - 50% - come from the EU. 

The dilemma facing wine trade is they need to have a contingency to double their wine stocks, which means finding extra warehouse space and cash flow, at a time when banks are being more cautious lending to British businesses.  

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: 

“The British gin industry is a great example of a booming trade that could be severely hampered if the so called ‘Brexit Armageddon’ scenario strikes. Doomsday Brexit could have a catastrophic impact, certainly on some of the smaller gin distillers, who are likely not to have the capacity to buy in and store reserves to make their products. This could lead to a shortage or even wipe out your favourite craft gin. The whole of the UK wine and spirit trade relies on the frictionless movement of goods in and out of the UK. We have been warning our members to prepare for the worst for the last 18 months. Government seem to have only just woken up to facing the bleakest outcome.

The harsh reality is that Armageddon risks companies going under, jobs being lost and consumers facing price hikes. So, Parliament needs to debate and pass the EU withdrawal bill and the government needs to get on with negotiating a successful trade deal with the EU that can be delivered in time for the end of the transition period. Businesses in our industry need a frictionless, fudge-free fix – and they need it fast.”

Dan Szor, Founder of the Cotswolds Distillery, said:

“If we are faced with a trade dead-stop at customs it is going to cause chaos at UK ports. Businesses like mine will find it very tough. We need clarity from government so that we can start to make a plan. At Cotswolds Distillery we rely on juniper berries from Macedonia - and it comes into the UK via Calais. without juniper there is no gin. Juniper grows wild and the success of the harvest is very much weather dependent, if we have a bad season and distillers are being forced to stockpile and I can see a juniper war kicking off. It’s not just SME’s like ours that will suffer the situation isn’t resolved it’s all millions of gin lovers who might not be able to get hold of their favourite tipple if juniper is in short supply.”\

Cathy Caton, one of the founders of Brighton Gin, said:

"We are a small-scale producer where every single element of our production is done by hand - our recipe is measured out in grammes rather than kilos!  We neither have the purchasing power of the big producers and nor the storage space to stockpile juniper.   We are already noticing supply issues and are guessing that the bigger players are buying up stocks to secure them - something we're not in a financial or physical position to do."

In November 2016 the WSTA published their Brexit policy paper - ‘The road ahead for the wine and spirit industry’ – drawn up to establish how best to meet and exploit the challenges of leaving the EU.

Since then we have been warning WSTA membership, at a series of Brexit briefings, workshops and Brexit risk map to have a contingency plan. 

Advising to prepare for stockpiling and storing goods, ingredients and equipment

Booking slots on Eurostar 

Prepare and know how to report bootlegging and fake booze coming onto the black market

Last year the WSTA highlighted importers and exporters concerns that if no resolution on leaving the customs union would see more than double the volume of cargo subject to inspection at British ports.

All ports’ operations are designed around the “just in time” principle, so there isn’t the capacity for hold ups. 

If Brexit talks don’t achieve frictionless borders ingredients will be held up in transit, bootleg booze could flood Britain and the roads into UK ports will become a lorry park.

 

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association warns if Brexit ‘doomsday’ dawns Britain could be faced with a gin drought.

The Government has drawn up a scenario for a no-deal Brexit said to paint a frightening picture of food and ingredient shortages – if the worst-case scenario becomes a reality this could lead to a juniper shortage.

British distillers rely on tonnes of juniper and other botanicals being shipped to the UK each year, predominantly from the Mediterranean.

Other commonly used botanicals found in gin include orange and lemon peels, liquorice, orris root and angelica root – all of which are generally imported.

If the ports collapse and goods can’t get through some of the UK’s smaller craft gin distillers will be facing extremely testing times.

The gin boom has seen a huge rise in the number of start-ups and distilleries making the juniper based spirit. Britain now boasts 315 distilleries in the UK – more than double the number that were operating across the country five years ago.

The WSTA’s latest market report released this week shows UK sales of gin have hit yet another record high.

In the 12 months to the end of March 2018 almost 55 million bottles of gin, worth almost £1.5 billion – up 28% in volume on the same period last year and 33% in value.

This of course is just one example of the headaches facing the wine and spirit industry, a trade which relies on the smooth transition of goods across borders.

Wine businesses face similar nightmare scenarios. 99% of the wine sold in the UK is imported and if stock cannot get in this will lead to depleted supermarket shelves and higher prices for consumers.

The UK wine trade is worth £19.9 billion in economic activity. We imported just under 1.8 billion bottles into Britain in 2017, 900 million of those bottles - 50% - come from the EU.

 

The dilemma facing wine trade is they need to have a contingency to double their wine stocks, which means finding extra warehouse space and cash flow, at a time when banks are being more cautious lending to British businesses. 

Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“The British gin industry is a great example of a booming trade that could be severely hampered if the so called ‘Brexit Armageddon’ scenario strikes. Doomsday Brexit could have a catastrophic impact, certainly on some of the smaller gin distillers, who are likely not to have the capacity to buy in and store reserves to make their products. This could lead to a shortage or even wipe out your favourite craft gin. The whole of the UK wine and spirit trade relies on the frictionless movement of goods in and out of the UK. We have been warning our members to prepare for the worst for the last 18 months. Government seem to have only just woken up to facing the bleakest outcome.

The harsh reality is that Armageddon risks companies going under, jobs being lost and consumers facing price hikes. So, Parliament needs to debate and pass the EU withdrawal bill and the government needs to get on with negotiating a successful trade deal with the EU that can be delivered in time for the end of the transition period. Businesses in our industry need a frictionless, fudge-free fix – and they need it fast.”

 

Dan Szor, Founder of the Cotswolds Distillery, said:

“If we are faced with a trade dead-stop at customs it is going to cause chaos at UK ports. Businesses like mine will find it very tough. We need clarity from government so that we can start to make a plan. At Cotswolds Distillery we rely on juniper berries from Macedonia - and it comes into the UK via Calais. without juniper there is no gin. Juniper grows wild and the success of the harvest is very much weather dependent, if we have a bad season and distillers are being forced to stockpile and I can see a juniper war kicking off. It’s not just SME’s like ours that will suffer the situation isn’t resolved it’s all millions of gin lovers who might not be able to get hold of their favourite tipple if juniper is in short supply.”

 

Cathy Caton, one of the founders of Brighton Gin, said:

 

"We are a small-scale producer where every single element of our production is done by hand - our recipe is measured out in grammes rather than kilos!  We neither have the purchasing power of the big producers and nor the storage space to stockpile juniper.   We are already noticing supply issues and are guessing that the bigger players are buying up stocks to secure them - something we're not in a financial or physical position to do."

In November 2016 the WSTA published their Brexit policy paper - ‘The road ahead for the wine and spirit industry’ – drawn up to establish how best to meet and exploit the challenges of leaving the EU.

Since then we have been warning WSTA membership, at a series of Brexit briefings, workshops and Brexit risk map to have a contingency plan.

·         Advising to prepare for stockpiling and storing goods, ingredients and equipment

·         Booking slots on Eurostar

·         Prepare and know how to report bootlegging and fake booze coming onto the black market

Last year the WSTA highlighted importers and exporters concerns that if no resolution on leaving the customs union would see more than double the volume of cargo subject to inspection at British ports.

All ports’ operations are designed around the “just in time” principle, so there isn’t the capacity for hold ups.

If Brexit talks don’t achieve frictionless borders ingredients will be held up in transit, bootleg booze could flood Britain and the roads into UK ports will become a lorry park.

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