A new report into the value of the UK’s wine and spirits industry, commissioned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), has found that the trade contributed over £76 billion in economic activity in 2022.

This compares to £49 billion five years ago, according to a similar report commissioned by the trade body, which used EY data from 2017.

The latest Economic Analysis Study, produced by economic consultancy Cebr for the WSTA, showed that in total the wine and spirit industry generated over £22 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy in 2022.  

According to the report, the UK remained the world’s second largest importer of wines, bringing in the equivalent of 1.7 billion bottles in 2022, and kept its global crown as the largest exporter of spirits, sending the equivalent of 1.8 billion bottles abroad in the same year.

The study found that the UK’s wine and spirit industry supported 413,000 jobs in 2022.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said the report comes as a timely reminder of the importance of the wine and spirit industry to the UK economy.

“We look forward to working with the next government to ensure the right support to encourage more investment, innovation and to generate further growth,” he said. “We hope that MPs, ministers and officials will all want to work in close partnership with our industry over the lifetime of the next parliament – recognising the significant value of wines and spirits to national economy, and working together to achieve economic growth, improved environmental outcomes and social responsibility.”  

The WSTA used the announcement to highlight the organisation’s ’10 key asks’ of an incoming government, which fall under three themes.

An Economically Sustainable Industry:

  • Make permanent the temporary easement for wine, due to expire on February 1, 2025. 
  • Ensure the effective functioning of the UK’s internal market. 
  • Commit to enacting any excise duty changes once annually, on a fixed date. 
  • Ensure any post-Brexit regulatory divergence does not adversely affect international trade and prioritise digitisation of customs procedures wherever possible.  

An Environmentally Sustainable Industry:

  • Delay the introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) until all the details of the scheme are finalised and businesses have time to budget fully and to prepare for its introduction.
  • The roll out of Deposit and Return Schemes (DRS) across the UK must be interoperable with common fees and labelling requirements, and a common set of materials within scope. Glass should not be included within scope of any DRS.
  • Reform of the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system is long overdue, the introduction of measures to increase transparency should not be further delayed, but instead introduced as soon as possible.

A Socially Sustainable Industry:

  • Commit to allowing the industry to present government with responsible drinking and harm reduction proposals, including new labelling guidance. 
  • Support access to additional health and nutritional information on-label on a voluntary basis, using technological solutions to reduce costs, such as QR codes. 
  • Support and simplify the production, labelling and marketing of no-and-low alcohol products, including raising the ‘no-alcohol’ threshold to 0.5% abv.