Brexit can boost spirits exports says WSTA chief

WSTA chief executive officer Miles Beale believes the UK can use Brexit to boost spirit export numbers after 45 new distilleries emerged in 2016.

HM Revenue & Customs figures have unveiled that 45 new distilleries opened in the UK in 2016, an increase of 17% which has excited the WSTA boss.

Beale said: “The rapid growth of distilleries, an increase of 135% since 2010, is yet another positive sign of the UK spirits industry going from strength to strength.

“As the Government negotiates free-trade deals with both Europe and third countries there is a real opportunity for the UK to boost its exporting capacity by trading quality spirits overseas.”

Despite five license cancellations in 2016, the UK is now estimated to have 273 distilleries with England accounting for two-thirds of the growth.

Beale added: “From traditional products like Scotch, to the Great British gin boom and newer products like English and Welsh whiskey, it is an exciting time for spirits producers across the UK.

"We have already seen how successful and in-demand British gin is to 139 countries around the world. But we believe with the right support the industry can go further to access more markets overseas.”