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Brown Brothers exits “unforgiving” UK market

Published:  02 April, 2018

Brown Brothers has announced it's exiting the UK market after more than 25 years.

The independent Australian family-owned company said it had, in conjunction with UK partner John E Fells & Sons, taken the “difficult decision” to remove the brand from the UK due to a combination of reasons making the market “unsustainable” for the business.

Key reasons cited for the departure included "the significant shift in exchange rates, changes in customer direction, increased costs of operating, Brexit uncertainty and the huge number of wine competitors selling in the country”.

“This has been an extremely challenging decision as many years of exhaustive effort have gone into the UK market, particularly from the Brown family and its in-market employees,” said CEO Dean Carroll, adding the Brown Brothers now believed the UK was the "most unforgiving" market in the world.

“The opportunities for us elsewhere are exciting and far more appealing, therefore must be pursued enthusiastically,” he said.

Brown Brothers will continue to operate within Europe albeit under a “tighter focus”, with the Innocent Bystander and Tasmanian brands continuing to be sold in the UK.

The decision to exit the UK was no reflection on Fells, added Carroll.

“We sincerely thank Fells MD Steve Moody and the team for their hard work over the last three and a half years and also thank Duncan Brown, our UK/European market manager, for his outstanding contribution to our business,” he said.

Moody said: “We are very sorry to see Brown Brothers leave the UK, but we entirely respect their decision which reflects the fast changing and very challenging conditions that this market faces. We wish our good friends at Brown Brothers the very best for the future with their unique and wonderful wines. We will work with all our customers individually to ensure that there is a calm and controlled exit from their involvement with Brown Brothers wines."