Exports of British-made booze have risen by 16% thanks to Brexit weakening the pound

Britain’s planned break from the EU is already causing staff shortage problems in the on-trade, but a new report claims that Brexit’s pound-weakening powers are to thank for a sharp rise in UK food and drink exports.

Brexit has provided an “additional boost” to UK food and drinks manufacturers selling their products abroad, according to the latest report by supply chain and data standards organisation GS1 UK which said the weakened pound is making UK-made goods such as beer and gin more attractive to global consumers.

The report — Brits Abroad: UK Food & Drink Exports in 2018 — found that the export of goods had risen by 12% in the year to November 2017, with alcoholic drinks exports seeing the most growth at 16%.

The overall rise equates to around a further £2.6bn added to the UK’s export market.

Exporting also now comprises a larger proportion of these businesses’ overall activity than it did five years ago, accounting for 15% of their revenue, up from 11% in 2013.

The report, which was released this week, claims that “an inescapable fact remains that the EU referendum result has led to an explosion in exports, due in no small part to the weaker pound.”

The news comes after a recent note sent out by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found that UK exports to China grew by 28% in 2017 to £564.4 million (US$783.6 million) in value.

Meanwhile last month, figures published by HMRC found that exports of British gin reached a record high in 2017 having more than doubled in the past decade, breaking the £500m mark predicted in 2016 to reach £530 million.

In addition to analysing changes and trends based on export data, GS1 UK also surveyed its own members for their predictions on UK export growth. Just over half of those surveyed (56%) expect direct sales to account for an even larger percentage of overall export sales in the next five years, with craft beer and gin singled out as British products with particular global appeal.

Gary Lynch, CEO of GS1 UK, said: “British produce remains a byword for excellence around the world and our food and drink is exported to the four corners of the globe. With official Government figures showing that £22bn of it was sent overseas in 2017, there is clearly a lasting taste for British products and our members have optimistic expectations for the coming years. Whisky and salmon are very much our export staples, but the thirst for our beer and gin also continues to intensify.”

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