Season’s greetings to all readers, and especially Beverage Standards Association (BSA) members. We are, as you read this, mostly likely in the middle of one the most uncertain times for the UK and its economy in a lot of people’s living memory. Sure, we have had banking crises and interest rate black days, but those were more fiscal than actual, and the looming votes and potential results have a real actual effect on not just the import and export of our goods and raw materials but, in a lot of cases, whether we actually can or not too.
I believe the UK economy to be fundamentally strong. Also, our citizens are stoic in their outlook, and this is where the legendary British sense of pulling together in times of crisis really comes into its own.
In a much smaller, but in some senses similar, vein the beverage trade has been the subject of changes. These have mostly been environmentally-based, but also the impact of Brexit and the effect on our imports of tea and coffee that are from around the world but processed in Europe. Along with the fabrication of equipment mostly originating in Europe, Brexit really has the potential to really change the landscape.
This is where the membership of a trade body such the BSA can really play its part, by liaising with other trade bodies, government and environmental committees, and through general networking. A group opinion is louder than a lone voice and I have a very real feeling this year we will need the help and support of others in many aspects of our daily business lives.
Every high street or cultural success eventually comes to the government’s or mainstream media’s attention, and then becomes a target at best for comment often negative and at worst for revenue raising. Witness the furore over sugar in coffee, then the debate about the maximum amount of coffee that should be consumed per day, the tax now on sugar in soft beverages, and the potential tax on beverage cups. These will become even more evident as the government may be in need of more revenue post any Brexit agreements (or not).
The year ahead will see much activity on behalf of all our members, with two pop-up trade networking events and a third in conjunction with a major new event in London in November next year. Details are yet to be finalised and published by our event partners.
In summary, good luck for the new year, and if you are a valued member your support is appreciated. If you are not please do consider joining our Association, as I have a feeling 2019 more than ever will be the year where we all need to stick together.