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WSTA membership climbs as it releases Brexit checklist

Published:  10 December, 2020

A record number of wine and spirit businesses have joined the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) this year following a recruitment drive bolstered by concerns over Covid and Brexit.

According to the WSTA, over 60 new members have joined this year. That represents an increase of 15% over the past 12 months, making 2020 the biggest sign-up year of the past decade.

The rush of new members comes at time of increased uncertainty for the trade, underpinned by Brexit bureaucracy and Covid restrictions.

The WSTA has tried to unpack these policies and inform via a numbers of seminars and resources, including a new Brexit Checklist for businesses ahead of the 1 January deadline.

Chief executive, Miles Beale said: “I am delighted to have welcomed so many new members into the WSTA this year. The need for the services and expertise we offer has been more starkly clear than ever in 2020.

“Recruiting, supporting and helping more and more wine and spirit businesses to prepare is a priority for the WSTA’s current chair, Michael Saunders of Bibendum Wine, and is being actively supported by our Board.

“The more members the WSTA has, the more we can do to support those members and to represent their views in the corridors of Government and of Parliament – at a time when it has never been more important.”

The WSTA has also been on a recruitment drive this year. Swelling the WSTA’s ranks has been an objective of chairman Michael Saunders, who took on the role in June last year.

Independents were recently the focus of an online seminar aimed at Brexit prep and driving merchant participation.

In our interview in this months’ print and digital edition, Saunders told Harpers: “A lot of people seem to assume if we get a [EU] trade deal done at the end of this week that will be the end of all our problems. It won’t. It’s going to be very different, even if indies buy through people like me."

The WSTA’s End of Transition Checklist is available to all.

It aims to provide a catch-all guide of everything there is to know about cross-border trade come 1 January, including labelling, EMCS regulations, EORI requirements and VI-1 forms.

“It’s important we unite as an industry ahead of what will be a major change in the way we are able to do business in the New Year,” Beale said.