Wine and Spirit Trade Association

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Alcohol badge.jpg This article is part of the Spinwatch public health oriented Alcohol Portal project.

The UK based Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) was established in 1824 and today continues to represent the interests of the wine and spirits supply chain. This includes: producers, importers, wholesalers, bottlers, warehouse keepers, logistics specialists, brand owners, licensed retailers and consultants. According to its website, the association "work with its members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of Alcohol and to share best practice with the entire trade". [1]

In 2011 the WSTA signed up the the UK Department of Health's Public Health Responsibility Deal by joining the Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network and committing to pledges said to reduce alcohol related harm. The WSTA are Signatories to Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network Labelling Pledge which by December 2013, requires over 80 per cent of alcohol products to be labelled with clear unit content, NHS guidelines and a warning about drinking when pregnant. [2] The alcohol industry have made this pledge several times since the late 1990's and have yet to fulfil their previous pledges. (See Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network)

WSTA's role

The WSTA carries out a number of functions for the wine and spirit trade, these include:

  • Lobbying government departments within the UK, Europe and international policy circles
  • Provide advice and training on legal matters, taxation and associated regulations
  • Contribute towards providing a platform for the exchange of non-competitive information
  • Promote a responsible image of the alcohol industry to consumers and the media
  • Raising industry standards


Policy positions

The WSTA's former chief executive Jeremy Beadles responded to recent calls for increases in alcohol taxation by the WHO and other public health experts as an attempt to stem the growing social and health costs of alcohol consumption in society by saying

"The health lobby admit they want everyone to pay for the sins of a few. This is wrong and consumers will see it as an unfair attack on the innocent rather than a practical step to solve the problem... Alcohol misuse does cause problems. That’s why we should all focus our efforts on educating and treating those who misuse alcohol. We should not punish millions of ordinary hard working families by increasing the financial burden they already face." [4].

Assuming the role of a defender of hard working families is a position regularly adopted by Beadles and the WSTA. They adopted the same position when the UK chancellor introduced modest tax increases on alcohol in the March 2008 budget, calling the rise an "attack on consumers". [5] This is one of many common positions taken by the alcohol industry when defending their business interests. It stands in opposition to existing evidence that finds increasing price and reducing availability are the only factors which effectively reduce consumption of alcohol and in turn the associated harms.

Lobbying firms

WSTA Executive Board



  1. WSTA Website About Us Last accessed April 25th 2008
  2. Department of Health Core Commitments to Responsibility Alcohol Network accessed 8th September 2011
  3. WSTA Website About Us Last accessed April 24th 2008
  4. WSTA Website Health Warning: Campaigners Want to Punish Us All Last accessed April 24th
  5. WSTA Website WSTA Condemns Government's Attack on Consumers Last accessed 24th April 2008
  6. Register 1st September 2014 - 30th November 2014 APPC, accessed 23 February 2015
  7. WSTA Website Executive Board Last accessed April 24th 2008