Following my raising of the issue in Parliament, I have established that forthcoming US retaliatory tariffs will not apply to Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky, the Spirit of Yorkshire’s Filey Bay. I asked my question in a House of Commons debate on US whisky tariffs where the Minister promised that the Government will protect and promote whisky produced in all parts of the United Kingdom.
During the debate, I highlighted the fact that not all whisky is Scotch and can instead be distilled elsewhere as it now is in Hunmanby, North Yorkshire. I asked that whisky producers, regardless of whether they are in Scotland or God’s own county of Yorkshire, be supported when faced with sudden costs thanks to retaliatory tariffs.
Fortunately for local business, Spirit of Yorkshire, WTO tariff codes categorise Irish and Scotch separately to other whiskies and so the forthcoming tariffs will only apply to Scottish and Irish whiskies and not whisky produced in other areas of the United Kingdom such as North Yorkshire.
Last week, I launched my campaign to lower wine duties and have previously celebrated the innovative work of breweries and gin distilleries operating in my constituency. Now I am able to confirm that US retaliatory tariffs will not apply to North Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky. The launch last week of Filey Bay is a cause for celebration. It is another fine example of a small independent local business investing in the region. Single malt producers are often small and medium-sized companies and it is great to see the Spirit of Yorkshire set up shop in the area. Locals are able to visit the distillery to learn how whisky is produced; even the main ingredient, barley, is grown on the family farm, Hunmanby Grange, with water taken from the farm’s own borehole.
Spirit of Yorkshire MD and co-founder, David Thompson, said “I am grateful to my MP for raising this issue in the House of Commons. Filey Bay is unique. Not only is it Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky, but we are one of only a handful of whisky makers in the UK that have a full field to bottle process. Every bottle of Filey Bay represents the passion and dedication of everyone involved. You only get to release the county’s first whisky once and we’re thrilled to now share it with customers old and new”.
Last year, British consumers bought almost 90 million bottles of whisky and this figure is estimated to grow as blended whisky drinkers continue to ‘trade up’ to single malts. In 2018, whisky exports grew by 7.8 per cent by value to £4.7 billion and exports of single malts rose by 11.3 per cent to £1.3 billion.
International Trade Minister, Conor Burns MP, said “Low tariffs and free trade underpin prosperity and jobs in the UK and globally, which is why we are pursuing an ambitious free trade agenda, lowering tariffs and quotas where possible and working on an ambitious package of bilateral free trade agreements.”