Wales sets out five-year plan to boost drinks sector

The Food and Drink Wales Industry Board (FDWIB) has announced the launch of a new Drinks Strategy for Wales, in an effort to boost its production of spirits, cider, bottled water, and low alcohol and alcohol-free beer.

Wales’ drinks industry currently has a turnover of £800 million and a retail sales value of £950 million.

Wales’ drinks industry currently has a turnover of £800 million and a retail sales value of £950 million.

However the industry has set its sights on further growth with the launch of the ‘Growing the Drinks Industry in Wales Strategy’, which aims to increase the growth of Wales’ drinks market over the next five years.

The strategy will tackle skills shortages by engaging with the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, which will provide technical training for Welsh brewers.

Other key areas that the strategy will focus on include access to energy, changing consumption patterns, reversing the decline of pubs and traditional on-trade outlets, as well as regulatory issues such as sugar tax, minimum pricing on alcohol and consumer attitudes towards plastic.

The strategy was launched at an event celebrating the work of Welsh drinks companies held at Tiny Rebel, an independent Welsh brewery, attended by producers including Rhymney Brewery, Hensol Castle Distillery and White Castle Vineyard.

The event was organised by the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board and led by the Welsh Government the Welsh Drinks Cluster.

The Welsh Drinks Cluster was established in March 2017 by Lesley Griffiths, cabinet secretary for environment planning and rural affairs, in order to raise the profile of Welsh drinks and to set out a direction to enable the industry to grow.

Andy Richardson, chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, said: “The development of the drinks sector strategy marks a key stage of the Drinks Cluster’s journey. Initial cluster activity has revealed a number of strategic priorities which respond to the industry’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. These priorities have been identified as innovation, scale up, marketing and skills.

“The next step for the cluster will involve working within Special Interest Groups to develop an identity and marketing strategy tailored to each sector’s positioning and needs. Our aim is that by working together on the key strategic priorities we will; help build Welsh drink brands both at home and abroad; improve skills and knowledge across the sector to support innovation and increase the environmental performance of the drinks industry.”

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