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Champagne retailer laments Brexit on third anniversary

Yesterday marked three years since the UK left the European Union, and one Champagne retailer has revealed how the impact of Brexit and resulting commercial challenges have left the company feeling flat.

Champagne retailer laments Brexit on third anniversary
Sip Champagnes founders Peter Crawford and Daniel Blatchford

Sip Champagnes, a specialist online retailer, was launched in 2020 by business partners Peter Crawford and Daniel Blatchford. The company won the Specialist Online Retailer of the Year Award at the 2022 Drinks Business Awards, just two years after launching.

Sip Champagnes sources and supplies small-batch wines from the French region directly to consumers and the on-trade. The retailer has 60 Champagne producers and over 236 individual cuvées from across 25 villages in its range.

Now, on the third anniversary of Britain’s exit from the EU, its founders have criticised the effect the move has had on business.

Crawford and Blatchford said in a statement: “As a small start-up, it’s hard to overstate how challenging Brexit has proven to be. Our supply chain broke five times in our first year, largely as a result of partners in France withdrawing from the UK market due to costs and complications.

“Costs for every element from customs to transport to the products themselves continue to rise and it seems like not a month goes by when there is not a new layer of bureaucratic complexity to navigate.”

To bypass some of these issues, the company has partnered with larger and more established logistics partners to ensure smoother flow of stock to the UK.

Sip Champagnes has also set up up a French subsidiary which allows the business to ship directly from France to other territories, cutting out the challenges and costs of UK customs.

One benefit to supplying the UK market is its relative maturity in regards to Champagne, the company’s founders have said, meaning that consumers of prestige products are generally less sensitive to price rises.

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