As the largest ever delegation of US distillers came to the UK to showcase its brands and products last week, its representatives made it clear that they’ve got their eye firmly on Brexit and the potential deal that can be struck.
‘I think there’s a lot of questions about how long it’s going to take and what’s going to happen,’ Rob Maron, the international trade specialist at the Distilled Spirits Council, said.
‘Really what we’re looking at from the spirits sector are assurances that the important protections for bourbon and Tennessee whiskey – and the zero tariff that’s been negotiated between the US and the EU – will remain intact.’
He added: ‘[We hope that] the UK government is aware of those [protections]as they move forward with their negotiations, in order to keep the open, reciprocal, mutually beneficial relationship open without creating any sorts of bumps in the road.’
Maron reiterated the UK is the second largest exporter of spirits to the US after France.
‘So it’s one of our most, if not our most important bilateral trade partner in the spirits sector,’ he said, before highlighting that the US is the UK’s second biggest export market for spirits too.
The international trade specialist revealed that discussions had already started, but that it’s ‘very early stages’.