Monday, 24 September 2012

Lady Bracknell would doubtless disapprove

There is a recent trend for wine packed in what is generally termed 'bag in box' to be disguised as something desirable - it says something about the contents that the packaging has to become so twee. At least two producers have launched new lines disguising the bag, well really the box, as a handbag. Now this is referred to as 'bag in bag' but as its life is likely to be spent in the kitchen cupboard or fridge it is really only on the supermarket shelf that the presentation will be important. No lady is likely to be swinging it - or swigging it - down the street. The wheel has come full circle since the days when a handbag such as Lady Bracknell's might have discretely concealed a small bottle of brandy. Rather think we remain with Lady Bracknell on this one.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Duty fix

It has been pointed out by Steve Parfett of the wholesaler of the same name that instead of minimum pricing it would be much more logical to standardise duty and bring it into line with the spirit system. Here alcoholic strength is multiplied by volume to work out the duty payable. Other alcoholic duty rates are based on bands and styles. This change would standardise the rate per unit of alcohol. Currently cider and perry pay easily the lowest rates of duty whilst wine at the top of the wine duty rate band (5.5%-15%) pays less per unit than the lower alcohol wines at the bottom. If minimum pricing is the aim then the duty rates should be sorted out first. This would also have the added advantage of not being able to be considered (so far at least!) an EU restraint of trade and avoid the legal shenanigans that would be involved. We live in hope..