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WSTA returns to Tokyo to promote homegrown wine and gin

Published:  28 November, 2018

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) this week travelled to Tokyo to showcase the quality of English wine and British gin in a bid to boost exports.

With Tokyo a “priority destination” as one of the fastest growing markets for UK Food and Drink exports, the trip (27 – 29 November) marked the second visit by the WSTA to the Japanese capital in as many years.

The British Embassy welcomed winemakers and distillers from the UK on day one for a briefing on the Japanese alcohol market, while today is centred around a ‘meet the buyer’ event and tastings, with the final day comprising further tastings for sommeliers and mixologists hosted by Aston Martin’s at the British car maker’s offices.

Over the two tasting days, four English sparkling wines and products from ten different gin distillers will be showcased.

The interest shown was a “fantastic boost” for the UK drinks industry, said chief executive Miles Beale.

“We are proud to share these products and, as we continue to campaign for our government to seal the right Brexit deal, we look forward to greater support to increase British gin and English wine exports to developed markets such as Australia, Japan, China and the US,” he said.

The removal of tariffs would allow Britain to maintain its position as the world's largest spirits exporter and further boost the UK economy, providing more jobs, he added.

The WSTA’s second foray into the Japanese market comes on the back of HMRC figures released earlier this year showing UK gin exports for 2017 broke the £500 million barrier for the first time, reaching a record breaking £530 million.

Gin exports to Asia and Oceania totalled £32 million in 2017, with over £7 million worth of British gin going to Japan.

Wine, meanwhile, saw UK exports total £550 million, including more than £250 million to Asia and Oceania, with wine exports to Japan worth over £9 million in 2017.

In addition to Tokyo, the WSTA has recently held events in embassies in Copenhagen, Madrid and Hong Kong and will hold more events at official residencies overseas in 2019.