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The economics of the great British booze market – do we pay to play?

Published:  03 June, 2024

The UK spirits market, to many global producers, is one they want to be part of. It’s not the biggest by any means, nor is it the most fruitful – but there is an air of prestige about it. And yet many independent producers trying to break into the UK market, will struggle or worse, fail miserably. It’s a tough nut to crack but by understanding the nuances of the market, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the challenge – and hopefully reap a bit of great British success.  


Q4 restaurant closures highest-ever

Published:  28 February, 2024

Restaurant closures surged to the highest-ever quarterly figure in Q4 2023, according to accountancy firm Price Bailey.


Distillers and bar owners call on chancellor to cut alcohol duty

Published:  05 February, 2024

A group of award-winning small distillers have penned an open letter to Jeremy Hunt calling for a cut to alcohol duty in the Spring Budget.


HMRC receipts from ‘sin taxes’ continue to fall

Published:  22 January, 2024

Tax revenues from so-called ‘sin taxes’ levied on alcohol, tobacco, gambling and sugary drinks have fallen to 3.1% of total UK tax receipts, according to HMRC figures for 2022-2023.


Soapbox: Stirring up a duty storm

Published:  07 September, 2023

Bordeaux winemaker and British expat Gavin Quinney says UK duty is ‘even crazier’ than we first thought.


Indies Survey: What’s the deal with duty?

Published:  17 August, 2023

Harpers wants to hear from indie retailers as to how the 1 August duty rises – and associated costs – are impacting business.


Indies short-changed in government duty consultation

Published:  14 August, 2023

Independent merchants, long considered the backbone of the quality drinks trade in the UK, were woefully underrepresented among those consulted by government over the duty changes now hitting businesses.


Nick Gillett: How the duty rise reveals the lack of duty to business

Published:  08 August, 2023

It doesn’t seem to matter what flavour of government you have at the moment – when it comes to the spirits and hospitality industries, there’s a stench of incompetence. In Scotland we have the incredibly public failure of the DRS scheme, which, as a result, has wasted millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. But don’t be fooled – it really is no better, south of the border. Westminster will raise you a cock up, in the form of the increased duty rates.


Exclusive: Hallgarten to hold duty rise in bid to ease pain for trade customers

Published:  25 May, 2023

Faced with a significant duty rise from 1 August, many in the business of selling wine are bracing themselves for a new round of pain. Unwilling to pass on price rises to cash-strapped customers, but needing to protect already thin margins, this unpopular hike in tax is understandably the talk of the trade. And all of this is to happen at a time when implementation will impact on hospitality outlets, forcing a reorganisation of wine lists during the crucial summer trading period.


Pacific trade pact overshadowed by domestic pressures, says WSTA

Published:  31 March, 2023

Confirmation that the UK has signed up to the Asia-Pacific trade pact will open new markets down the line for some in the drinks trade, but will offer little sustenance in the short term.


Budget misery for UK drinks trade

Published:  15 March, 2023

The trade is facing what has been dubbed a ‘double-pronged tax hike’ following the UK’s Spring Budget earlier this week (15 March), with the freeze on alcohol duty increases to end on 1 August 2023.


‘Super stealth tax’ looms via Spring Budget

Published:  14 March, 2023

Industry heads are warning that wine drinkers could face rocketing prices if the chancellor goes ahead with a double-pronged tax hike, likely to be announced at tomorrow’s Spring Budget.


Freeze on alcohol duty in mini-budget

Published:  23 September, 2022

Planned increases in alcohol duty have been ditched by new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in his mini-budget, as unveiled on 23 September.


Calls to review ‘punishing’ tax regime aired in Parliament

Published:  22 March, 2022

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has convened a meeting of MPs and Lords to hear first-hand from British businesses how the ‘punishing’ proposals for duty reform from three to 27 tax bands will negatively impact the drinks industry and consumers.  


The taxing debate around duty

Published:  04 March, 2022

With the wine trade potentially facing a damaging new duty regime, Andrew Catchpole convened a panel at Wine Paris to ask: “Will the proposed new excise duties in the UK make wine unaffordable?”


Duty amends will “wipe out the benefits” of non-EU trade deals – make your voice heard

Published:  21 January, 2022

Accolade Wines is the latest major wine company to join calls urging the government to take stock of its alcohol duty review. 


Time to act as alcohol duty review consultation deadline looms

Published:  18 January, 2022

Calls for the drinks trade to voice its concerns over the government’s alcohol duty review have ramped up as the consultation period nears its close on 30 January, potentially adding a £220 million additional tax burden on wine.


Liberty adds to calls on government to reconsider wine duty reforms

Published:  17 December, 2021

Liberty Wines has joined a growing roster of UK drinks companies in voicing its concerns around the upcoming government alcohol duty review, which is under consultation until 30 January 2022.


Business rates for hospitality cut by 50% for one year

Published:  27 October, 2021

Today’s Budget announcement included a year-long cut to business rates for the leisure and retail industry, meaning pubs, restaurants and bars will pay 50% less for 12 months.


Sparkling wine premium could be scrapped in alcohol duty overhaul

Published:  19 October, 2021

Reports from the national press suggest that the premium on sparkling wine duty could be scrapped by chancellor Rishi Sunak in the upcoming Autumn Budget in a move which could bring sparkling wine duty in line with still.