Accolade Wines wants the UK alcohol industry to join forces

Accolade Wines wants the UK alcohol industry to join forces

Accolade Wines has called for unity across the UK drinks industry against Government duty hikes that have seen wine sales plummet in the past two years.

The UK wine company's GM, Paul Schaafsma, said yesterday (27 November) that the alcohol duty escalator is having a crippling effect on all alcohol makers, not just the brewers who have so far been its most vocal opponents. The escalator, in place since March 2008, means alcohol duties have been raised 2% above inflation each year. It is due to remain until at least 2014. 

“As an industry we must show our Government that we are one voice,” said Schaafsma. “In recent months we have seen the demise of major drinks companies including Waverley TBS, D&D Wines and Stratford’s, due to the difficult trading environment and crushing tax regime.

"The Government must re-think this policy if it is serious about backing UK businesses, creating jobs and driving growth - not decline.”

Accolade's WineNation 2012 Report, released yesterday, claims tax now accounts for 60% of the price of a bottle of wine, while on-trade sales have dropped by 25.2 million bottles in the past two years.  The wine industry is facing rising costs, poor harvests and domestic demand in wine producing markets, which will add to price pressures in the UK, the report said. 

Britain's beer industry has led the fight against the duty escalator, with the British Beer & Pub Association calling the annual hikes “misguided” and organising an e-petition, which led to a debate and vote in Parliament. 

However, the UK Treasury has suggested it will ignore the vote to scrap the escalator, telling just-drinks that “alcohol duty revenues do make an important contribution to the public finances”.