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2015 year in review and hopes and fears for 2016: Miles Beale, WSTA

Published:  28 December, 2015

Miles Beale chief executive officer of the Wine and Spirits Trade Association, celebrated the 'best budget outcome for almost 20 years' in 2015.  Looking ahead, Beale is gearing up to to make the case for a 2% duty cut and fairer treatment for wine in 2016.

How was 2015 for you and your business? 

Very good. Best Budget outcome for almost 20 years which recently landed us with a PR Award for 'Trade Body Campaign of the Year', 10% increase in member numbers despite industry challenges and consolidation, some great causes championed (eg British gin and English wine).

But, perhaps most of all, we've got a great team at the WSTA - who offer a lot to members, are making a difference and are fun to work with. 

What do you think were the most significant things that happened or issues and trends that occurred in 2015?

Budget cuts, consumers trading up, new investments and emerging new companies were all significant developments this year. But, with hindsight and a general election, it's possible to see now that our industry's relationship with Government has changed for the better. They recognise our results in encouraging responsible consumption and want to work with us in areas like exports. Food and drink is now the UK's largest exporting industry.

What opportunities are you most looking forward to working on in 2016?

There are so many! I hope we can embed the government's new attitude towards our great industry. We will be asking for a 2% duty cut, fairer treatment for wine and greater support for SMEs and micro businesses in the wine and spirit industry. And I'm looking forward to a packed positive agenda in new areas: exports, UK hospitality and the two next big things: British gin and English wine! 

What are the biggest challenges facing the trade in 2016?

Being ahead of the curve on responsible drinking, putting its case for working with and earning support from Government and dealing with change - to the market, of people and by technology. 

Who are the people, companies or retailers to watch in 2016?

A tricky question for anyone running a trade association! I hope to see a number of small players breaking through and, perhaps even more excitingly, a medium sized company or two becoming genuinely big players. Perhaps some 'cross dressing': between suppliers to on- and off-trade for example.  

What are you doing for Christmas and New Year?

Enjoying time with family & friends. Eating, drinking and socialising. Responsibly. 

What will be your favourite tipple over Christmas and New Year?

I have favourites, but I'm not telling! 

Favourite Christmas film?

Le bonheur est dans le pré. Or if I am watching something with my children it would be Frozen!

Ideal day out over Christmas period? 

Probably a family day in! Or a long walk followed by well-earned refreshment.

What do you want most from Father Christmas? 

Wins for sporting teams I support! And if Santa popped a pledge for a further 2% cut for wine and spirits from George into my stocking that would make for a very happy Christmas.

New Year's resolution?

To learn something new.