WSTA wants 2% wine duty cut in UK Budget

Wine drinking in the UK is no longer just for connoisseurs with polling commissioned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association there showing it’s now the favoured alcoholic drink for 60% of UK adults compared to all other alcohol products.

This figure includes the majority in each age group and across all regions of the UK who now choose wine over other alcoholic drinks. This amounts to over 30 million regular wine consumers across the country.

Wine accounts for 18% of the value of what’s sold in the UK on-trade and combined with spirits (22.5%) and RTDs (1%) equates to 42% of the total value of alcohol sold in pubs, bars and restaurants. It accounts for 12.4% of the value of alcohol sold in pubs at a contribution of £1.95 billion.

The whole UK wine industry is worth £17.3 billion in economic activity to the British economy, claims the WSTA, but tax paid on the wine sold in the UK is currently at a record high.

UK consumers currently pay nearly 60% tax on an average-priced bottle of wine which has not had a tax cut since 1984.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of people think that alcohol duty is too high, found the poll, which also found:

  • Wine is now the preferred drink of choice for more 25 to 34 year-olds than ever before with over half (57%) choosing wine over other alcoholic products
  • UK consumers are unaware of the scale of the indigenous English wine industry with 50% thinking that there are fewer than 100 vineyards in the UK. The real figure is 448, producing 5 million bottles a year.

UK drinkers are also drinking more responsibly. HMRC data shows that total alcohol consumption per head of the UK population fell by 18.4% between 2004 and 2013, from 9.5 litres of pure alcohol per person to 7.7.

“Our polling shows that regardless of the stereotypes, wine is now the nation’s favourite drink and is enjoyed by a majority of people across all ages, regions and social classes,” commented WSTA’s Chief Executive Miles Beale, “While our consumption of alcohol continues to fall, wine is our new favourite drink.”

The WSTA has called on the Chancellor to drop alcohol duty by 2% at the March Budget which would generate an increase of more than £1billion annually for the public finances, it claims.

Using the strapline ‘Small drop, big cheer’ the ‘Drop the Duty!’ campaign is calling on all UK consumers to take action and speak out about the unfair level of tax by 4e-mailling their MP via the campaign website ( to urge George Osborne to make this “modest 2% cut in duty across all alcohol products in Budget 2015”.

The move towards wine drinking by British consumers is reflected in the importance now placed on the UK wine market worldwide. The UK now represents the sixth-largest market globally.


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