Drinks industry boosts British exports

Industry News | | MIC Customs Solutions |

British exports have been reaping the rewards from a healthy drinks industry.

The drinks industry has been delivering a boost to British exports, according to new figures from the government's Department for International Trade.

Its research showed that UK exports of beverages including gin and Scotch whisky reached a high of £8.3 billion (€9.6 billion) in the year to February 2019, up by seven per cent on the previous year.

An unprecedented demand for wine, spirits and soft drinks from the UK has seen exports more than double in the past 15 years, with the country now recording a trade surplus of £1.6 billion.

There was a particularly high spike in beverage exports in October and November last year, with figures rising 23 per cent above the annual average as traders across the world stocked up in preparation for the festive season.

Interestingly, non-European Union countries were the top destinations for British drinks, accounting for 63.4 per cent of all exports. India and Japan were highlighted among the nations increasing their demand, with exports there growing 49.2 and 23.7 per cent respectively.

However, the US proved to be the top destination overall, with exports to the states having gone up by 3.9 per cent to £1.8 billion.

Secretary of state for international trade Dr Liam Fox said he was pleased to see demand for British exports from around the world, despite the challenging global economic environment.

"The UK's drink industry has global appeal and it's fantastic to see the sector continue to deliver real tangible economic benefits. My international economic department stands ready to help businesses of all sizes achieve their exporting ambitions," he added.

It remains to be seen what the impact of Brexit will be on the UK's food and drink industry, particularly concerning those countries it trades with inside the EU.

If it is forced to trade with them under World Trade Organization rules, it is likely that additional tariffs will have to be added to food and drink products. This could make British produce harder to sell on the continent and could threaten the businesses attempting to sell it.

British businesses may also struggle with additional checks for product standards and supply chain management in the event of a no-deal Brexit.