Brexit threatens juniper imports, says WSTA

13th June, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

The British gin industry “could be severely hampered” by Brexit if the UK leaves the EU with ‘no deal’, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has warned.

(L-R): Miles Beale, Dan Szor, WSTA chairman Dan Jago

L-R: WSTA chief executive Miles Beale; Cotswolds Distillery founder Dan Szor; and WSTA chairman Dan Jago

The WSTA believes the government’s recently unveiled ‘no-deal’ scenario – which predicts severe food and drink shortages within two weeks of leaving the EU – would have unfavourable effects on juniper supplies.

British distillers rely on tonnes of juniper and other botanicals being shipped to the UK each year.

Smaller ‘craft’ distilleries could face “extremely testing times” if they are unable to access imported goods.

Gin sales in the UK reached £1.5 billion (US$2bn) in the 12 months to March 2018, the equivalent of almost 55 million bottles, according to the WSTA’s latest Market Report.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “The British gin industry is a great example of a booming trade that could be severely hampered if the so-called ‘Brexit Armageddon’ scenario strikes.

“The whole of the UK wine and spirit trade relies on the frictionless movement of goods in and out of the UK. We have been warning our members to prepare for the worst for the last 18 months. Government seem to have only just woken up to facing the bleakest outcome.

“The harsh reality is that Armageddon risks companies going under, jobs being lost and consumers facing price hikes. So, parliament needs to debate and pass the EU withdrawal bill and the government needs to get on with negotiating a successful trade deal with the EU that can be delivered in time for the end of the transition period.”

Dan Szor, founder of the Cotswolds Distillery, added: “If we are faced with a trade dead-stop at customs it is going to cause chaos at UK ports. Businesses like mine will find it very tough. We need clarity from government so that we can start to make a plan.”

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