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Government lauds ‘pint’-sized wine as Brexit benefit

Published:  02 January, 2024

The UK government has permitted the sale of ‘pint’ sized still and sparkling wine across supermarkets, pubs, clubs and restaurants.

According to a statement by Steve Barclay MP, the 568ml size will sit alongside the measures already available, which already includes 500ml for still wine, and will offer “more flexibility and choice for customers”.

There is no legal obligation for businesses to sell in the new sizes, meaning the on and off-trade will still be able to sell in the standard bottle (750ml) and half-bottle sizes (375ml).

The government also highlighted that the new reforms were made possible by Brexit. 

“Our exit from the EU was all about moments just like this, where we can seize new opportunities and provide a real boost to our great British wineries and further growing the economy,” Kevin Hollinrake, minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business.

The pint measure was permitted in the UK before it joined the European Economic Community, the precursor to the EU, in 1973. This latest reform comes 18 months after then-prime minister Boris Johnson called for a return to imperial measurements to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee.

The Windsor Framework also means that newly packaged wine will be able to be sold by bars, restaurants and retailers in Northern Ireland.

According to the department for business and trade, the changes were “wholeheartedly backed” by the industry following a consultation in June 2022, which showed 98.7% of respondents were in favour of using metric units when buying or selling products, either as the primary unit of sale (as currently) or as the sole unit of sale (purely metric).

However, Gavin Quinney, owner and winemaker of Château Bauduc in Bordeaux, was quick to point out the difference in duty for a pint of wine in the UK (£2.02) versus the rest of Europe, including the Netherlands (42p), Belgium (36p) and France (2p).

“The pint of wine won’t exist in any serious volume”, he said on X, formerly Twitter.

Meanwhile, some English wine producers approved the changes to allow new quantities of both pre-packed still and sparkling wine to be sold in 200ml and 500ml quantities (currently still wine cannot be sold in 200ml, and sparkling wine cannot be sold in 500ml).

Nicola Bates, CEO of WineGB added: “We welcome the chance to be able to harmonise still and sparkling bottle sizes and we are happy to raise a glass to the greater choice that allows UK producers for domestic sales.”