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June 24, 2016

The UK Referendum – just-drinks Live Blog

Yesterday, the UK voted to leave the European Union. The result of the referendum fell 52% in favour of the so-called 'Brexit'. We'll keep you up to date throughout the day on drinks industry reaction.

By Jason Ingle

Yesterday, the UK voted to leave the European Union. The result of the referendum fell 52% in favour of the so-called ‘Brexit’. We’ll keep you up to date throughout the day on drinks industry reaction.

Head here to receive just-drinks’ free daily newsletter, covering all that is going on in the global beer, soft drinks, spirits, bottled water and wine categories

1610: As what has been a truly remarkable day here in the UK draws to a close, the Brewers of Europe are clearly consoling themselves with a beer. “Today is a sad day for the European Union,” says secretary general Pierre-Olivier Bergeron. “There is bound to be a great deal of uncertainty over the coming months as the UK and the remaining 27 EU Member States negotiate the best possible outcome from the UK decision to leave the EU. The UK’s brewers, however, remain a key part of the European brewing family and The Brewers of Europe is determined to work together with our UK member, the British Beer & Pub Association, and all brewers across the continent to help guarantee a bright future for beer in Europe.

“Europe’s beer market is a major growth creator, job generator, trader and taxpayer and beer has been seeing something of a renaissance over the last ten years as new breweries and beer brands have sprung up across Europe. All these qualities, together with beer’s innate capacity to bring people together will be crucial to ensure a positive future for all of Europe’s brewers and the millions of beer consumers across the UK and the rest of Europe.”

1410: just-drinks has spoken to two of the UK’s top independent cider producers, Westons and Thatchers, about what Brexit means for them and the wider industry. You can read their reactions here.

1345: Short and, well, rather dry actually, from the UK Vineyards Association: “We face a new chapter in our nation’s history and undoubtedly with that will come changes and opportunities,” says a spokesperson. “The UK wine industry remains excited and optimistic about its future and will support and work alongside the trade bodies and government to ensure we retain a strong voice as we move forward and continue to grow strongly.”

1230: The Scotch Whisky Association has highlighted “serious issues” for the Scotch category that will need to be considered post-Brexit. “The process of leaving the EU will inevitably generate significant uncertainty,” says chief executive David Frost There are serious issues to resolve in areas of major importance to our industry and which require urgent attention, notably the nature of future trade arrangements with both the single market and the wider world.

“We urge thoughtful and serious consideration by all parties so that we can secure the best possible continued access to the EU and other export markets on which Scotch whisky’s success has been built, whilst minimising costs and complexity.”

1210: Here comes Diageo, with a plea for the UK to keep its trade access to the EU. “As one of the UK’s leading exporters, Diageo remains committed to the long-term prosperity of the Scotch whisky industry,” a spokesperson said. “We will now work closely with our industry bodies to seek clarity on the transition process.

“It is a priority that the UK continues to benefit from open access to the EU as well as favourable international trade agreements to protect the UK’s important export industries, including Scotch whisky.”

1155: We’ve also heard that Pernod Ricard has communicated internally its willingness to respect the UK decision. In a message to employees co-signed by Laurent Lacassagne, CEO of the London-based Chivas Brothers unit, Travel Retail Europe MD Ian Williams and Pernod’s UK head, Denis O’Flynn, the company said: “This (result) does not change our position in the market and for our Scotch whiskies and our British gins. We will continue to invest and develop our business as we always have done. We are confident in the future of our business in the UK and Travel Retail. We will go on working with the relevant authorities to make UK exports (especially whisky and gin) successful in the long term.”

CEO Alex Ricard responded to the post on Pernod’s internal messaging system. “This shows yet again how the challenging political environments affect all of us at a very deep level,” he wrote. “We should never take anything for granted.

“Let’s remain united in our determination to move forward. No matter what the world throws at us, we are stronger together.”

1120: Europe-wide trade association FoodDrinkEurope has expressed its disappointment in the result. ” This is a blow that will have repercussions across all Member States of the EU,” a spokesperson told just-drinks’ sister site, just-food. “The European authorities and national governments must now take the necessary steps to reinforce the Union. The European Union must learn from this experience and not allow for further weakening of the EU in today’s particularly challenging context. EU legislators must continue to make progress on issues close to the heart of businesses, of growth and of jobs, such as the Single Market and Better Regulation.”

1040: The British Beer & Pub Association sees stability in speed. “It is vital that the Government acts quickly to secure economic stability and protect consumer confidence,” says the on-trade association’s chief executive, Brigid Simmonds. “We will be vigilant to ensure the Brexit negotiations do not harm our exports abroad and the competitive position of beer and pubs in Britain.”

1010: We’ve reached out to a handful of drinks companies this morning, to gauge their feelings towards the result. First up is SABMiller… which has declined to comment!

0925: UK trade body the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers has called for business as usual in the near-term. “For the moment, business will and must continue as normal,” says chief executive Kate Nicholls. “In the months ahead, while the impact of the decision unfolds, the ALMR will work closely with the Government and its agencies, to protect the commercial interests of our members.

“While the uncertainties that will result from the referendum’s outcome are unwelcome, the fact is that the UK has spoken about an issue that it holds close to its heart. From here, all parties must move forward in a manner that best serves the UK’s citizens – our teams and our guests as well as our businesses, including the pubs, clubs and restaurants that remain at the heart of our society.”

0912: Britvic has also had a downhill start to the day, with its shares down by just under 7%.

0901: Similarly, SABMiller has seen its shares slide by 0.85%.

0845: Looking at share price movement of UK-listed companies, Diageo has opened down this morning, falling by 0.87% compared to yesterday’s close.

0828: Within two hours of the formal result declaration, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announces his intention to resign.

0825: Here’s the Food & Drink Federation. “In March, we released the results of a poll of our members which showed 70% support for Britain to remain in the EU,” says director general Ian Wright. “It’s inevitable in the light of those results that the majority of FDF members will regard this as a disappointing result for the food and drink industry.

“Now FDF will work on behalf of our members and all those across our industry to find a way through this very challenging period that we face.   We’ll focus on working with the Government to understand what this means for trading, market access and regulation to secure the best outcome for British food and drink manufacturing businesses and their consumers.”

0815: First out of the traps is the UK’s Wine & Spirit Trade Association. “The British public has voted to leave the European Union, opening a new chapter in our history,” says CEO Miles Beale. “While our members felt that the wine and spirits industry was stronger in the EU, we will work to assist government in preserving our access to the Single Market, supporting British drinks exports and agreeing the best possible international free trade agreements.

“The WSTA will do everything it can to ensure that the UK’s wine and spirit industry has a powerful voice with a view to promoting the great British drinks industry’s leading position and fulfilling its huge potential in an increasingly-competitive international marketplace.”

Send us your thoughts on this morning’s result – email

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