Majestic Wine has announced a 49% rise in sales at its French outlets as UK consumers turn to “Booze Cruises” to stockpile wine before Brexit deadline day.

The wine retailer said sales for February 2019 resulted in the biggest-ever month outside of Christmas for its two Calais-based stores.

The “Booze Cruise” phenomena was common in the late 1990s as many British drinkers took advantage of savings ranging between £2 to £5 per bottle of wine.

With the Brexit deadline day of March 29 now looming, it appears that stocking up on wine is back in fashion although Majestic said the Booze Cruise shopping mission has changed.

Joshua Lincoln, managing director at Majestic Wine, said: “This is a new generation of cruiser millennials. It is couples getting ready for their summer weddings now. It is day-trippers from the Scottish Highlands taking on a mammoth trek. It is not necessarily people buying as much as they can, as cheaply as they can.”

Majestic has a deal on pre-orders of wine whereby it offers to pay the costs of crossing the Channel, and the retailer notes that while the exchange rate is “far from as favourable as the Booze Cruise peak of the late nineties”, an average saving of more than £3 per bottle still makes it a compelling option. 

As an example, Majestic’s Calais stores offer Codorniu Brut Cava NV Spain at £3.29 per bottle, compared with £9.99 in its UK stores.

Lincoln said: “Pre-orders are up 78% for this March and the average order value is up too – these are wine lovers spending the same as they would in the UK, and getting considerably better bottles for it. And they are doing it now.”