Our policy work is extensive, on a wide range of social, regulatory and technical issues. The wine and spirit industry is eager to play its part in the UK’s economic growth and we aim to shape an environment in which our sector can increase investment and remain competitive.

Regulation is one of the biggest barriers to growth any business can face. We strive to ensure that regulation -whether at an international, national or local level− does not threaten the sector’s viability. Another key part of building a sustainable future for the industry is fostering a culture in which our products are enjoyed responsibly. We are committed to working in partnership with the UK Government and other stakeholders to deliver this.

Key Issues

Alcohol Taxation Policy-tax1

We want an alcohol taxation system which is fair to moderate consumers and responsible businesses.This is the system we need for a sustainable, competitive alcohol industry. However in recent years, increasing duty on alcohol has placed a disproportionate burden on the sector. Click here for more detail.


Policies based on increasing the price of alcohol are both ineffective and unfair.By their catch-all nature, they penalise those who consume and sell alcohol responsibly, rather than targeting harmful drinkers.Nor do they help people proactively take healthier decisions about their consumption.There are other, more effective approaches we can take. Click here for more detail.

Public Health Pub-health1

The WSTA has played a key role in shaping the industry’s commitments as part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal, which will help people to drink within recommended guidelines. Click here for more detail.

Social Responsibility

As demonstrated by our work on the Public Health Responsibility deal, the industry takes its responsibility for encouraging sensible consumption very seriously. WSTA members have led initiatives designed to address alcohol-related problems, such as Challenge 25 and Community Alcohol Partnerships. Click here for more detail.

Regulation of Wine and Spirit productsRegulation

Regulation is a major challenge to businesses, especially given the need to remain competitive in the current economic circumstances. The WSTA seeks to manage the regulatory risks to the sector through wide-ranging work at the global, EU and national levels. Click here for more detail.

Licensing Law in England and Wales

A licensing regime should tackle irresponsible businesses but not impose unnecessary restrictions on the ability of law-abiding licencees ability to trade and grow. Retailers are working in partnership at a local level to tackle alcohol-related problems. Click here for more detail.

Environment and SustainabilityEnviro

Building a more environmentally sustainable industry is not only right in terms of social responsibility, it also makes good business sense. The WSTA supports a range of initiatives to build a greener wine and spirit sector. Click here for more detail.

Facilitating Market Access

In an increasingly competitive international economic environment, opening up new markets and opportunities for the wine and spirit industry to grow is vital. Through our international contacts with other trade associations, we work to remove barriers to trade. Click here for more details.

Distance SellingDistance2

Many of our members sell wine and spirit products via the internet or mail order. Distance retailing continues to grow, as consumers embrace this way of shopping. Businesses selling their products remotely face a range of new and different issues. Click here for more detail.

Tackling fraud

The UK's high duty regime has the unfortunate consequence of creating an incentive for duty fraud. This damages the livelihood of honest businesses, with estimated losses from alcohol fraud across beer, wine, and spirits as high as £1 billion a year. In May 2011, the WSTA launched a fraud prevention unit to lead industry efforts to crackdown on all types of fraud in the wine and spirits sectors. Click here for more detail

The WSTA has teamed up with Crimestoppers, to run a targeted campaign encouraging the general public to report criminals selling illicit alcohol and undermining legitimate businesses -

Logistics, Customs & Excise Policy-tax2

In common with all businesses, getting products to the right place, in the right condition, at the right time is vital for the wine and spirit sector. We work to ensure that processes relating to the movement of goods allow responsible businesses to operate in the most cost–effective and least burdensome way, whilst curbing the illegal activity which damages the industry. Click here for more detail.

Devolved Issues

We work wherever possible in partnership with decision-makers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to address alcohol harm. However, complying with increasingly different regulatory regimes in constituent parts of the UK creates considerable extra burdens on businesses operating UK-wide.


Want to know more? Ask Carlo Gibbs
Carlo Gibbs

Carlo Gibbs - Director of UK Policy & Social Responsibility

Carlo is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the WSTA’s domestic policy work. This includes UK policy development, Government relations, parliamentary engagement in the UK and devolved assemblies, and its wider public affairs program. His remit covers a number of key policy areas including licensing, duty and health. He also leads on the WSTA’s social responsibility work including managing Retail of Alcohol Standards Group and its initiative around responsible retailing, including Challenge 25 and other partnership initiatives aimed at tackling alcohol harm.

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 7089 3871

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