The biggest spirits stories of 2018

11th January, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

Brexit continues to cause anguish

The Brexit vote sent shockwaves through the industry in June 2016, and as the UK’s departure from the EU neared, it remained a hot topic for the international spirits trade in 2018.

In November, the UK government published a draft withdrawal agreement, which has been agreed “at negotiators level”. Under the terms, geographical indicator (GI) protections would continue to be honoured by the UK.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has repeated its warnings against a ‘no deal’ scenario, stating it would have a “catastrophic impact” on its members. Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “A ‘no deal’ Brexit presents a multitude of difficulties that are outside of [businesses’] control. We need more time to digest the proposed deal.”

The Scotch Whisky Association also said no deal would “cause the Scotch whisky industry considerable difficulties, and would force cost and complexity into production, distribution and exporting”. But it said that while the draft agreement is a “compromise”, it is a “positive step towards business certainty”.

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