Spirits and wine

A ‘yes’ vote on Brexit would weaken the UK’s wine and spirit trade, industry players have warned.

The country’s part in the European single market has a positive impact on the sector, according to an overwhelming percentage of Wine and Spirit Trade Association members, with 91% backing the claim in a survey by the organisation.

The poll of 300 members on key concerns surrounding Brexit found 85% felt the EU had a beneficial effect on their business, while 69% believed it had a positive impact on consumers.

Four out of five (81%) WSTA members worried that a departure from the EU would create an uncertain trading environment, and 78% cited concerns about restricted access to the common market.

“While all views were represented by our membership, the vast majority is clear that the industry will better be able to invest, grow and create jobs if the UK remains in the single market,” said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale, who insisted that the wine and spirits industry needed a strong voice within the EU “to ensure we can shape and influence regulations that will impact on the trade and its access to the EU’s 500 million consumers.”

He added: “It is clear… our place at the centre of the international wine industry is hugely positive for the UK and its consumers. There is real concern that this would be put at risk as a result of exiting the EU.”