On-trade faces ‘death by a thousand cuts’, warns Gleave

Drinks: Drinks, Wines

The UK restaurant scene is already having to face up to economic problems – but things are set to get a whole lot tougher, warned Liberty Wines MD, David Gleave MW.

‘We have a triple whammy,’ he told Imbibe. ‘We have short vintages around the world, from South America to New Zealand and Europe, we have a duty increase probably coming in November, and then we have the exchange rate.’

Speaking on the day of the Liberty tasting, when the rising cost of imports pushed inflation up to nearly 3%, Gleave was pessimistic about the short and medium-term future.

‘Before the referendum, people said Brexit would be a cliff edge, but it’s not. It’s going to be death by a thousand cuts, with businesses leaving a bit at a time,’ he said.

Vintage wise, Gleave foresees particular problems in Europe. The continent suffered almost universally this year, with frost in the spring likely to see double-digit falls in production, but Gleave believes that Italy in general (and Prosecco in particular), France and Spain will be especially affected.

‘It’s going to put even more pressure on restaurants, which is not what they need,’ he said.

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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