The Wine and Spirit Trade Association arranged for the best of British gin and the finest English fizz to be served at the evening reception of the Leadership Conference held annually at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Sir Simon McDonald, Head of the Diplomatic Service at the FCO, took to the podium and called for the gathered dignitaries “to serve British at home and abroad.”
Ambassadors, High Commissioners and diplomats were invited to taste and take away a fresh view on the UK’s world class home-grown drinks.
With English wine and British gin now proven as world class products the WSTA hope these influential guests will spread the word through state receptions across the globe.
And to help get the drinks to their destinations, the WSTA is offering a ‘match-making’ service to ensure Embassies – no matter how far flung – can serve British.
Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, said:
“It is only right that we should encourage the UK Government’s representatives around the world to showcase the very best of British. The UK drinks industry is calling on all parts of government to be bolder than ever in its support for British exports.
“Consumers worldwide have woken up to the fact that English wine and British gin are premium products which taste great and can compete with the best. The quality of our gin and English wine combined with the world’s love for brand Britain has led to an increased demand for these premium products.
“Our Embassies and High Commissions across the globe can help this grow if they take the lead from Number 10 and serve British at events they host overseas.”
The latest HMRC figures show a record breaking £474 million worth of British gin was sold abroad in 2016 – up 11%, worth £53 million more than the previous year.
More and more nations are clamouring for the sought after spirit, with 139 countries now bulk buying British gin.
2016 was also reported as being a bumper year for English wine producers who saw their turnover rise to a record £132 million last year, up 16 per cent on 2015.
English wine continues to go from strength to strength with one million vines being planted in the UK this year.
There is a record area of land under vine in England. In the last 10 years hectarage of planted vines has more than doubled and this is set to grow a further 50% by 2020.
On offer at the reception, which was well attended by dignitaries last Tuesday, 11th July, were six different English sparkling wines and four different British gins.
Some brands were more familiar than others but all have one thing in common in addition to their collective excellence – all products on offer on the night were from producers looking to expand their export markets.
The WSTA includes amongst its membership the major producers of English wine and British gin and is offering a ‘match-making’ service to help source products for diplomats serving in posts in all corners of the world.
The WSTA represents an industry worth around £50 billion to the UK and supports over half a million jobs in the UK.