WSTA Spirits Committee Elects New Chair

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s Spirits Committee has elected Finn O’Driscoll, Managing Director of SHS Drinks, as its new Chair.

He replaces Chris Searle who is standing down as Chair of the group. The WSTA Spirits Committee offers a forum for member companies to discuss and guide all aspects of policy and trade relating to spirit drinks, such as production, taxation and legislative matters affecting the sector.

The UK is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of spirits and the spirits industry supports hundreds of thousands of UK jobs. 18% of direct employment in the European spirit industry is in the UK, the highest contribution of any member state. 

Despite the importance of the sector to the UK, spirits duty has increased by 44% since 2008 and tax now accounts for 77% of an average price of a bottle of spirits.  

Commenting on his election as Chair of the Spirits Committee Finn O’Driscoll of SHS Drinks said:

“The Spirits Committee brings together spirits companies from across the sector so I am delighted to have been elected as the group’s Chair. 

I look forward to building on the excellent work achieved by the Committee as it continues to address many important issues affecting the industry from work on free trade deals to fairer tax treatment.”

WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale said:

“Finn brings a wealth of experience and offers unique insights as an SME brand owner, having worked in the sector for over 20 years.

I would also like to thank Chris Searle for his exceptional work as Chair in guiding the work of the Spirits Committee.”  

About Finn O’Driscoll:

With over 20 years in the UK drinks sector at Griersons Blumenthal, Matthew Clark and Constellation Brands across a range of commercial, sales and marketing roles, O’Driscoll joined the SHS Group 14 years ago.  He became Joint Managing Director at Beverage Brands in 2009 before taking on his current role in 2013.

As Managing Director for SHS Drinks, Finn O’Driscoll is responsible for overseeing all departments of the business and is also on the SHS Group Management board.

The Drinks Division of the SHS group owns, manufacturers and markets soft and alcohol drinks and is made up of frou different operating companies: Beverage Brands, Merrdown plc, Bottlegreen and Caledonian Bottlers.

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