Post-Brexit: What the wine merchants are doing

10 October 2016

With Christmas fast approaching – the season of drinking and more drinking – London wine merchant Jascots recently made the decision to freeze its prices, allowing clients to not feel the effects of the falling pound before the busy season.

Following the June Brexit vote, the GBP has fallen in value against major global currencies, with a 9% increase in the price of the Euro against the GBP and 14% increase in the price of the USD.

With the exchange rate in a rut, wine merchants are faced with the decision of whether to pass the costs to the client, or cut their profits.

'With the important Christmas period approaching, we've made the decision to freeze our prices until the end of the calendar year,’ said Jascots' managing partner Miles MacInnes. 'We hope that by doing this, we’ll enable our clients to take full advantage of the business opportunities over the coming months.'

We spoke to other wine distributors to see what they are doing in the run up in the post-Brexit run up to Christmas.

First, the Sommelier Wine Award's Boutique Merchant of the Year, Top Selection. Speaking to Imbibe, the company revealed: 'We place tremendous value in the long-term relationships we have with both our clients and our suppliers and have thus decided not to raise prices for our current customers.

'Moving forward, the drop in the value of the sterling may impact prices for new vintages and product additions, but we do not anticipate making any major changes in the short term. Despite the uncertainty that lies ahead post-Brexit, we remain dedicated to continuing to provide our clients with exceptional service and the finest wines and spirits from across the globe, including those from the EU,' the company concluded.

Next up, former SWA Merchant of the Year, Boutinot. 'Boutinot's new on-trade price list will be issued, as usual, in February 2017, and we have no intention of increasing prices before then in spite of the recent changes to the exchange rate that are following in the wake of the Brexit vote,' said Michael Moriarty, commercial director at Boutinot, to Imbibe.

'It's important that customers are to be able to have confidence in our pricing policy, and know that we are committed to continuity on this front.  The exchange rate is like a pendulum – sometimes it swings in our favour, and sometimes it doesn't. Boutinot simply has to ride the rough, enjoy the smooth and not be tempted into knee-jerk reactions that could upset valued relationships that we have spent years nurturing.'

This year's SWA Merchant of the Year, Liberty Wines, revealed some of its wines will see a small rise: 'The rapid slide in the value of sterling against all major currencies, which we knew would be one of the unfortunate consequences of the referendum result, has increased the landed price of almost all wines,' said managing director David Gleave MW.

'We had forward cover on these currencies to the end of last month and have now been forced to increase prices. We have worked hard with each of our producers to try to mitigate these price increases. As a result of their support, the prices of a number of key wines will remain unchanged, while others will see a small rise.'

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