John Glen, an economist at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (Cips), told The Guardian that alcohol wholesalers have started stockpiling imports now rather than waiting until November, which is what they usually do.
“It’s particularly wine from the EU,” he said. “Companies have bought well ahead of Christmas this year, due to potential disruption at the ports and to try and avoid depreciation in the value of sterling against the euro.”
Across the pond, Champagne producers say they’ve been stockpiling large quantities of bottles and are confident stock levels will be unaffected this Christmas. Britain is Champagne’s largest export market, ahead of the US, and a whopping 55% of wine consumed in the UK is imported from the EU.
“Growers and houses have overstocked in Great Britain to fill a possible border closure if it were to occur,” Thibaut Le Mailloux, head of communication from the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC trade body), told Reuters last week. It has not been specified just how many extra bottles have been sent.
Meanwhile, wine critic Antoine Gerbelle seems assured there’s enough Champagne stockpiled to meet British demand for “at least a year”.
“There won’t be a Champagne crisis at Christmas,” he said. That’s settled then.
It’s not just booze being stockpiled. A survey of 817 UK and EU supply chain managers found many UK businesses have taken steps to protect their supply chains, with one fifth importing Christmas stock earlier to avoid border disruption from 31 October (the day Britain is due to leave the EU).
However, a small number (9%) of businesses have struggled to find affordable warehouse space to store their surplus of stock.