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British Ambassadors call for more British wine and spirits at international events

Published:  20 June, 2019

The UK’s Ambassadors and senior diplomats have said they want to serve more English wine and British gin.

The WSTA has teamed up with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the fourth year running to exclusively serve British Gin and English sparkling wine at the annual reception for overseas diplomats.

But availability remains an issue, according to one diplomat, who said: “We would very much like to serve a much wider range of gin and more English wine but are often prevented by a lack of availability and ability to import at a reasonable price.”

Sir Simon McDonald, the UK’s top diplomat at the Head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said: “I am delighted the WSTA once again supported our event - our home-grown spirits and wine sector is flourishing but I would like us to be able to do more.

“Our wine and gin exports are increasingly prestigious, and are now respectively the UK’s the fifth and sixth largest food and drink exports by value. By serving English wine and British gin at our embassies and missions wherever possible, we can help promote the sector and create more jobs and growth.”

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale, said it was “encouraging to hear that more homegrown wine and spirits are being served at British diplomatic service receptions - both home and abroad - since the WSTA began showcasing a range of English sparkling wines and British gins at the FCO’s annual London reception.

“But the strong message coming back to us is that whilst the will is there to serve British it’s not always that easy to get products to far away locations. The WSTA has pledged to continue helping to bridge the gap between demand and supply – not least because our wine and spirit producers need support to achieve their full potential, especially in export markets.

“With all the current challenges to international trade, it is even more crucial that our Ambassadors and High Commissioners are flying the flag for our quality British gin and English wine and raising the profile for brand Britain’s premium products.”

In 2018 over 73m bottles of gin, worth over £2bn, were sold in the UK, almost doubling in value in two years. British gin exports reached over £600m.

2018 was also a standout year for English wine with a record-breaking yield equating to 15.6m bottles of still and sparkling wine, compared to 5.9m in 2017.