To send out a strong message to UK Ambassadors, High Commissioners and senior diplomats to ‘serve British’, English wine and British gin producers for the first time sponsored the drinks reception after the annual conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
CEO of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, comments: “It is only right that we should encourage the UK Government’s representatives around the world to showcase the very best of British.
“The UK drinks industry is calling on all parts of government to be bolder than ever in its support for British exports.
“Our Embassies and High Commissions across the globe should take the lead from Number 10 and Defra at home and consider serving British at events they host overseas.”
The FCO agreed to serve exclusively British drinks at their conference reception. Defra has already committed to supporting British drinks production and Number 10 announced in May it had chosen to make two English Sparkling wine producers official suppliers for Downing Street receptions.
With English wine and British gin now proven as world class products, the WSTA hope these influential guests will spread the word through state receptions across the globe. British gin and English wine sit firmly front and centre within the Great British Food campaign.
More than two thirds of the gin distilled in the UK goes to discerning drinkers overseas. Exports have risen nearly 50% in the past six years, with sales to 139 countries, worth over £2 billion in that period.
English wine goes from strength to strength: there is a record area of land under vine in England, production is set to double over the next 5 years and exports set to increase tenfold in that time.
On offer to the 470 dignitaries attending the reception on Tuesday, July 5th, were eight different English sparkling wines and four different gins.
Some brands were more familiar than others but all have one thing in common in addition to their collective excellence – all the products are looking to expand their export markets.
The WSTA represents an industry worth over £45 billion to the UK and supports over half a million jobs in the UK.
The drinks showcased at the Leadership Conference 2016 were: Berry Bros & Rudd, English Sparkling Wine, Kent; Bolney Bubbly, Sussex; Chapel Down, Blanc de blancs, Kent; Furleigh Estate, Classic Cuvee, Dorset; Hattingley Valley, Classic Cuvee, Hampshire; Hush Heath, Leslie’s Reserve NV, Kent; Nyetimber, Classic Cuvee, Sussex; Ridgeview, Bloomsbury, South Downs; Beefeater, London Dry Gin; East London Liquor Company, London Dry Gin; Sipsmith, London Dry Gin; Tanqueray, London Dry Gin; Fever-Tree, Tonic Water.
Gin sales in the UK (on and off trade sales combined) are set to break £1 billion for the first time next year.
The gin boom saw a multi-record breaking year in 2015 with 49 new distilleries opening across the country and consumers spending more on gin than ever before. A total of 117 new distilleries have opened in the UK in the last five years.
Almost 140 million bottles of gin made in the UK are now exported every year.
In 2015 £1.87bn worth of single G&Ts were sold across the globe (all gin not just British)
English wine facts:
In the last 16 years to 2015 English sparkling wines have won 9 trophies for Best International Sparkling wine and 6 Trophies for Best Sparkling Rose in Global Competitions.
There are now 503 commercial vineyards in the UK which last year produced 5.06m bottles of wine compared to 3.02 bottles in 2011.
In the last ten years hectarage of planted vines has more than doubled and is set to grow 50% by 2020.
Image courtesy of FreeImages.com/Tom Richards
22 July 2016 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor