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Pint-sized wine bottles are a Brexit benefit ‘fantasy’, says MP

Pint-sized bottles of wine will be permitted on UK shelves from September, but whether producers and retailers will buy into the new serving size is a different question.

Pint-sized wine bottles are a Brexit benefit 'fantasy', says MP

the Department for Business and Trade announced in December that it would be introducing pint-sized bottles of wine to UK retail shelves.

The new bottle size will debut on 19 September, one of seven changes to pre-packaged wine sizes coming into force at that time.

Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business Kevin Hollinrake said that the new measures will provide the UK wine industry with opportunities for “innovation and greater choice”.

The Government is positioning the introduction of pint-sized bottles as a Brexit benefit. According to The London Economic, pint bottles of Champagne were available on UK shelves until 1973 prior to Britain joining the European Common Market.

When the new bottle size was announced in December Hollinrake said that the reform was made possible by Brexit. “Our exit from the EU was all about moments just like this, where we can seize new opportunities and provide a real boost to our great British wineries and further growing the economy,” he said.

But the SNP’s Patrick Grady has now called on the Government to admit there is “little to no demand or interest for this supposedly glorious Brexit benefit”.

He said it should “admit that its Brexit dream of people quaffing pints of wine” was always a “fantasy”. Grady argued that in fact, the new bottle size would be a “Brexit nightmare of border checks, of reduced consumer choice and of business closures”.

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch replied: “I can’t imagine why anyone would be complaining about the sale of pints of wine.

“If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to buy it.”

But Grady is not alone in his critique of the bottle size. When the measures were first announced in December, Liberty Wines founder David Gleave MW suggested that there wasn’t sufficient demand for it. In a Tweet, he called the plans “Sheer idiocy”.

“It makes no sense from a quality point of view. And in decades of selling wine, I’ve never been asked for a pint-sized bottle,” he said.

Members of the trade have also highlighted the issues around sustainability. A spokesperson for Kent’s Balfour Winery told The Guardian at the time: “Realistically, we’re looking at ways to take glass out of our supply chain rather than adding more in…Bespoke bottle sizes add further cost, and take more resource to create – which is also less sustainable.

Mark Driver, co-founder of East Sussex producer Rathfinny Estate, has argued that there is no market for a 568ml bottle size for wine. He said the new size was “unlikely to ever take off in the wine trade because no-one makes a pint sized bottle or uses pints”. Rathfinny recently launched a 50cl sparkling wine bottle. The Alfriston-based company said the bottle size was “perfect” for two people to share, with a pour of four glasses.

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