Miles Beale on the challenges the drinks industry faces

As CEO of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale has much to lobby about on behalf of the organisation’s members. With the fallout from Covid-19, tariffs and Brexit to contend with, he tells The Spirit Business about the current state of affairs. First Brexit, then trade wars and most recently Covid‐19 – the past few years have presented the perfect storm of challenges for the UK drinks industry. At times like this, the…

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UK should be ‘bastion of free trade’ post-Brexit

The UK should be a “bastion of free trade” and “looking to remove tariffs as far as possible”, the chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has encouraged. Single malt Scotch, single malt Irish whiskey and liqueurs made in the UK have been subject to a 25% import tariff from the US since October last year. The US introduced the tariffs on these alcoholic beverages, along with many other EU-made goods, in…

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WSTA: reopening date for bars ‘huge relief’

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said confirmation that the on-trade in England can reopen next week was a “huge relief” but warned many venues will still need government support. Yesterday (23 June), UK prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed bars, pubs and restaurants in England can reopen, both indoors and outdoors, from 4 July. This will coincide with a relaxation of the two-metre rule to one-metre-plus – although two metres will still be the…

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UK gin sales grew at slower pace in 2019

Sales of gin in the UK were worth around £2.6 billion (US$3.3bn) last year with the category facing an “inevitable” slowdown, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA). Consumers purchased 83 million bottles of gin last year, figures from trade body the WSTA revealed. In 2019, gin sales continued to grow, although at a slower pace, the WSTA noted, as distillers continue to innovate in the category and provide more choice for consumers.…

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Furlough flexibility welcome but more support needed

Trade body UK Hospitality has welcomed the UK government’s move to increase flexibility of the furlough scheme from July when parts of the on-trade will hopefully be allowed to reopen. The UK’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was due to end in July, but was extended to October. Under the scheme, which was announced on 20 March, the government pays for 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to £2,500 (US$2,900) a month.…

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