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2008 industry predictions

Published:  23 July, 2008

David Gleave, managing director, Liberty

As we move from glut to shortage, we will see price increases across the board, from most producing countries, in a way we haven't seen since about 1996. At the same time, the economy is going to slow down, ending about 14 years of steady growth. This combination does not bode well for 2008.

This seems likely to be exacerbated by a swinging increase in duties under cover of action on binge drinking'. I look forward to the Government's explanation as to why duty on spirits, far greater contributors to binge drinking, have remained untouched for the past decade, while those on wine, generally consumed with food and in moderation, have continued to rise. I suspect I'll have a long wait.

On the positive side, 2007 has been an excellent vintage in Italy. Apart from prices, the only dark cloud on Italy's horizon is its continued refusal to give producers the freedom to use alternative closures.

We will see modest progress on this in 2008, but nowhere near as much as is needed.