Brown Brothers brand exits "unforgiving and unsustainable" UK market

Brown Brothers has announced it is removing its eponymous wine brand from the UK market, despite announcing its intention to relaunch the brand into the UK earlier this year.

The Australian family-owned producer said it had made the “very difficult decision” in conjunction with its UK distributor, John E Fells and Sons.

Brown Brothers’ chief executive Dean Carroll said: “The significant shift in exchange rates, changes in customer direction, increased costs of operating, Brexit uncertainty and the huge number of wine competitors selling in the country have all contributed to making the market unsustainable for our company.

“Our belief is that the UK is now the most unforgiving market in the world and the opportunities for us elsewhere are exciting and far more appealing, therefore must be pursued enthusiastically."

Last year the company told DRN it hoped to resurrect the brand in the UK, having been through a big transformation over the past decade.

Winemaker and family member Katherine Brown said it was hopeful that the brand’s UK distributor Fells, with its focus on family businesses, could help rebuild the brand among the UK trade and consumers over the next ten years.

At the time she said: “We have diversified into different regions and we now have a range of brands in our stable. We are excited about rebuilding in the UK.”

The company said today that it will continue to operate within Europe and the Innocent Bystander and Tasmanian brands will continue to be sold in the UK.

Carroll concluded by saying the company thanks Steve Moody and the team at Fells for all their hard work over the last three and a half years, adding “this decision bears no reflection on their efforts”.

Steve Moody, Fells managing director, added: “We are very sorry to see Brown Brothers leave the UK, but we entirely respect their decision which reflects the fast changing and very challenging conditions that this market faces. We wish our good friends at brown Brothers the very best for the future with their unique and wonderful wines. We will work with all our customers individually to ensure that there is a calm and controlled exit from their involvement with Brown Brothers wines.”

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