Brexit offers opportunities as well as challenges, says WSTA’s Dan Jago
Brexit may present “monumental challenges” to the UK drinks industry, but it also opens up new opportunities that we should embrace, said Dan Jago, chairman of the UK’s drinks trade body The Wine & Spirit Trade Association.
He even went as far this week in an interview with Drinks Business, to say that this was also one of the most exciting moments for the UK wine industry and it needs to do all it can to grab it.
Jago, who is also chief executive of Berry Bros & Rudd, said he didn’t personally support the UK’s decision to leave the EU, but now it has let’s do all we can to capitalise on it.
“I was an adamant ‘remainer’, but now that the decision has been made, I am absolutely committed to doing the best possible job that we can for and with the wine and spirits industry in being a trading nation with as many places in the world as we can,” he said.
As for the opportunities he pointed to the new trade deals that could now be done. “Australia has been discussing free trade agreements [with the UK], and very quickly; Australia wants to be right at the front of the stuff they do with us as a country, which is great.”
He said there are also going to continue to be winners and losers through the process, particularly when you factor in how the rate of sterling now means the price of wine is a lot higher from some countries, but more competitive in others. A situation he had seen within Berry Bros where it has seen increased sales in fine wine from buyers in Asia and other strong currency markets like the US.
“There is currency affect all over the place and our en primeur sales are 10% higher exactly due to the currency effect due to Brexit compared to where we were one year ago,” he added.