Red tape and higher prices: the effect of Brexit on Manchester beer imports

  • A Manchester-based beer importer talks about the effect of Brexit on his business
  • Extra costs mean prices will continue to rise
  • More administration means that companies will have to work longer hours

A Manchester-based beer wholesaler has told the Northern Quota that Brexit has pushed up beer prices and increased his working hours significantly.

Sandbar German Beers director Mike Flint, 57, has spoken out about the effect Brexit has had on his business as an importer of German beers.

He says weakening of the pound, extra administration and third-party costs are driving prices up for suppliers.

This increase has a knock-on effect for customers, meaning they have to pay more which has led to the company recieveing fewer orders.

There’s a lot of extra work involved

Mike said: “The effect of Brexit was felt the day after the referendum result because the pound dropped by about 10% in value.

“This means all our beer now costs 10% more. It’s a big shock for any wholesaler because our profit margins are very small compared to retail margins.

“We rely on the volume of sales rather than a bigger margin.”

In the wake of Brexit, red tape also means that companies like Mike’s must expend much more working hours for the same or lower profit in return.

He added: “There’s a lot of extra work involved. Hours and hours of emails to suppliers in Germany and German freight companies just trying to get it right.

“Basically, if the paperwork isn’t right and they seize it, even though we’ve already paid the duty, we won’t get it back for probably three or four months.

“Which, in our case, means that a lot of the beer would be out of date.”

Mike believes that this all speaks to a lack of preparedness by the British government who had years to ready the country for this transition but failed to simplify the existing customs system.

Even products produced in the UK are not safe. Some UK made products which Mike supplies can no longer source the necessary ingredients from Europe and have had to halt production.