Business giants take the stage at WSTA Annual Conference

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association is pleased to announce two keynote speakers at this year’s WSTA Annual Conference – the Minister of State for International Trade, Lord Price, and Wetherspoon boss, Tim Martin.

In conversation with Alex Forrest, former ITN political news editor, the two business supremoes will headline this year’s event under the title - Trading Spaces: Creative partnerships with the EU and the rest of the world.

Tickets are now on sale for the conference which is taking place on Tuesday 12 September at The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle St, London, W1S 4BS.

The WSTA Annual Conference will not only keep attendees up-to-date with the latest Brexit developments, but will also stimulate fresh ideas on dealing with the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The conference will debate what needs to be done to support the industry and invite attendees to think creatively about the opportunities that Brexit may present.

WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale said:

“We are pleased and excited to announce that this year’s WSTA Annual Conference has two business giants signed up as headline speakers.

For a global industry like wine and spirits their views on how business can survive and prosper post Brexit are guaranteed to stimulate interesting debate.

We know there will be challenging times ahead for our members and our aim is to work together to find the best way through which allows our industry’s historic trade flows to remain intact. But we need also to look to the future and global opportunities.”

Lord Mark Price joined the John Lewis Partnership in 1982. He spent 17 years on the board of Waitrose, becoming Managing Director in 2007, and was Deputy Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership from 2013.

Mark was appointed Chairman of Business in the Community in 2011 and Chairman of the Prince’s Countryside Fund in 2010. He stepped down from Waitrose in 2016 and was made life peer and appointed Minister of State for Trade and Investment. He was reappointed in June 2017.

He is also a successful author, penning books on food and on employee engagement. His most recent book, ‘Fairness for All’, was published in May 2017. Launching alongside the book, the Engaging Works website ( is designed to help businesses create happier workplaces.

Tim Martin is the founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon. His father worked for brewing multinational Guinness plc and became Malaysian marketing director. Martin was educated at eleven different schools around the globe before eventually studying law and qualifying as a barrister, which he gave up to set up Wetherspoon in 1979.

From a single pub, Tim has grown the business to the UK’s largest pub chain, which has over 900 UK outlets (plus 50 hotel) and employs over 38,000 people.

Tim was one of the few top business leaders to speak out in favour of Brexit. He welcomed the result and speaks regularly about advantages he sees for the UK drinks industry.

Tim emphasises the importance of being in touch with pub culture and what people want, which is what he says makes his business successful.

Following a “State of the Industry” address from Miles Beale, WSTA Chief Executive, and conversations with Lord Price and Tim Martin, there will be panel of experts – whose names will be released closer to the event.

The WSTA Annual Conference is the largest wine and spirit industry event and takes place in September each year.

It is a fantastic opportunity for WSTA members, potential members and guests from government associated bodies and the media to hear how the industry has being performing and of future potential trends.

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