WSTA responds to the Budget 2017

Budget blow means triple whammy price hikes for wine and spirits

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has hit out at the triple whammy that means price rises for consumers as businesses take a huge inflationary hit following the Budget announcement.

Following Brexit’s impact on the pound and rising inflation the wine and spirit trade were already facing a tough trading landscape.

As a result of the 3.9% inflationary rises on alcohol imposed by the Chancellor, wine and spirit businesses and consumers will now feel the full force of the triple whammy.

The duty rises by inflation will mean a bottle of wine will go up by 8p, sparkling wine 10p and an average priced bottle of spirits will shoot up 30p.

This is before VAT is applied, adding a further 20%.

It is the first time in 25 years that a Chancellor has increased alcohol duty by inflation on all alcoholic products – the last time was by Norman Lamont in 1992.

The failure to rebalance this unfair tax burden on the wine and spirits industry will stifle business’s ability to invest and grow, to sustain the 550,000 jobs it currently supports and to help successful British pubs, bars and restaurants where –  £10bn – wine and spirits sales makes a significant and fast growing contribution.

The increase goes against recent Budget success stories. After a freeze in wine duty in the 2015 Budget, wine duty income increased by £136m (+3.6%) the following year and after a 2% cut in spirits duty that year, spirits duty income increased by £124m (+4.1%) over the same period.

The Government has also announced a consultation on a new duty band for still wine and made wine between 5.5% and 8.5% abv.


Commenting on the Chancellor’s decision to raise wine and spirit duty by inflation, Miles Beale Chief Executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association said:


“It is disappointing that the Chancellor has failed to support a great British industry. He has increased what were already excessive and unfairly high rates of duty for the UK’s wine and spirit consumers and businesses.

Between Brexit’s impact on the pound and rising inflation the wine and spirit businesses face a tough trading landscape. This is a missed opportunity to back British business and help out struggling consumers.

The added uncertainty of another Budget in 6 months’ time is unwelcome and will further undermine business – and consumer - confidence.

At least there is some sign that Philip Hammond cares about levelling the playing field. It is important that he treated all alcohol products equally. It is welcome news that he has introduced a consultation on wine and made wine between 5.5 – 8.5% - a category which holds a great deal of potential for innovation, especially for lower ABV products.”


Notes to editors:

The rate of inflation is 3.9%. This is calculated by using the RPI estimate for September 2017 provided by the Office of Budget Responsibility.


This will mean:

  • Duty on a 750ml bottle of wine increases by 8p to £2.16
  • Duty on a 750ml bottle of sparkling increases by 10p to £2.77
  • Duty on a 750ml bottle of fortified wine increases by 11p to £2.89
  • Duty on a 70cl bottle of vodka at 37.5% increases by 28p to £7.54
  • Duty on a litre bottle of vodka at 37.5% increases by 40p to £10.78
  • Duty on a 70cl bottle of Gin at 40% increases by 30p to £8.05
  • Duty on a litre bottle of Gin at 40% increases by 43p to £11.50


The full WSTA Budget 2017 report can be found here:


The revised rates are due to come into effect after midnight, Sunday 12th March.


The WSTA is the UK organisation for the wine and spirit industry, representing over 300 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wine and spirits. The WSTA works with its members to promote responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.


For more information please contact:

Lucy Panton - [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0) 207 0893875

Mobile:+ 44 (0) 7776422656

Harriet Talbot – [email protected]

Tel +44 (0) 207 0893875

Mobile +44 (0) 7587290720

Twitter @wstauk

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