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Australian wines focus on India paying rich dividends

Australia’s industry is different. It is much more mature, and our climate allows for a more diverse variety of wines to be produced. So it isn’t a “like for like” comparison. In fact, we see no real competition between the domestically produced and imported wines. Both are targetted to different parts of the society. Domestic wines are often perceived as “value for money”.

Imported wines often carry a perception of quality among Indian customers who are willing to pay a premium. According to some statistic, imported wines account for about 35% of the country’s total wine consumption in terms of value but only about 12% in terms of volume.

Australia is looking at the upper end of the spectrum in wines, we see an opportunity for Australian labels to offer an experience to consumers.

The diversity and quality we can offer, gives us the ability to provide consumers with something that few new world countries can.

What experiences of Asian markets would you like to bring to the marketplace?

The Indian wine market is in a nascent stage, especially for imported wine. We are delighted to see wine culture slowly evolving and consumer adoption growing.

As the industry continues to grow, we are hoping to see more advanced matching of wines and foods. Cobranding of wine experiences with other activities, like premium tourism. Curated experiences that take the consumer on a journey. Tasting rooms, which we see coming up in Maharashtra soon, are something we are working on.

Our main aim is to see wine transformed from consumption to experience in the mind of the consumers.

Exports of Australian wines in glass bottles have grown 2% in value and unpackaged wines by 13%, what are your comments? Do you see an opportunity for bulk wine exports to India?

There is an opportunity for bulk wine. But current duty structures don’t really make it viable. There is no significant cost saving to import bulk as custom duty remains same for bottled and bulk wine. It’s not something we are looking into right now.

We do see opportunities for private labels in India and have had success with Australian brands developing private labels for Indian organisations.

What kind of pricing strategy should Australian wines adopt as the global trends are for low-end wines and high-end wines?

Brands should consider a multi-pronged strategy. Offering an entry level wine to generate awareness of their label in the market. Support this with a more premium offering, that elevates the perception of quality.

What are your comments on the growth of wines in value (less than $2.50 per litre) by 8% and that of high-end wines ($50 and more) increase by 34% in value?

This is a very encouraging trend. It shows a maturing of consumers’ pallet and an appetite for a premium experience.

As has been the case all around the world, as the industry matures, consumers’ pallets become more sophisticated and the premium segment emerges. We also see this trend in the fact that importers are not only seeking entry level wines, but also mid and premium level wines

Australia has unique position in Indian market. Australia has significant market share not only in wines value less than $2.50 per litre, but also high-end wines, too.

Australian wines have an approximately 23% market share, and a little over US$ 6 million in value. What target would you like to set for yourself in terms of market share and value?

We are very proud of our position in the market. It’s something we want to hold on to and grow. We haven’t set targets in terms of overall dollar value. We want to focus on creating a brand for Australian wine, as we feel this will give the best outcome.

Importantly, younger generations, particularly the age group of 20-35 years, is the emerging consumer segment for wine. This is due primarily to an exposure to Western culture.

Austrade India have a significant presence on the ground. Austrade has offices in six Indian cities (Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata & Hyderabad). We are working closely with Indian importers and providing personalised one-on-one service to understand importers’ requirements to expand their portfolios and connect with Australian wineries. Austrade is playing an important role to maintain and grow Australian market share in imported wines in India.

With a very low per capita consumption of wine (a tablespoon) and total consumption of 30 million litres how would you rate prospects of Australian wine in India?

With the market being in a developing state, there is huge potential for Australia.

Historically, India has been a market for spirits and beer and wine consumption has been limited by availability of domestic wine as well as the high cost of imported wines.

In a country with a billion-plus population, it is estimated that wine in India has penetrated only a small segment of the population so far, resulting in low capita consumption of wine. Wines are increasingly becoming popular among younger generations and are now being served at functions, events, Indian marriages, and gifting.

Australia’s proximity to India, in comparison to other wine producers, gives Australian exporters a slight advantage. Not only are freight cost moderately cheaper, but diplomatic relations are strong due to our shared democratic values and large Indian diaspora in Australia.

The position of Australian wine and its wineries is critical. We want consumers to think of Australia in terms of a premium brand for wine – A leader in the new world.

With India being such a young country (by demographics and at heart) we’ve taken a long-term vision for the market.

With India importing about 500,000 cases of wines per annum what is the scope for Australian wines in India?

With the market being in such a developmental state, there is huge potential for Australia. The amount of wine imported will grow over the coming years and if Australia can establish its brand in the market it will be a big part of that growth.

Many well-known Australian wines are not present in India – Jacob’s Creek, Hardy’s, Yellowtail are three accessible brands. For consumers looking to explore Aussie labels and varieties further there is Yalumba, Torbreck, Two Hands, Penfolds, Lindeman’s, Wolf Blass and Debortoli available across a range of state, just to name a few.

Imported rosé is witnessing increased interest due to its versatility and food pairing. Rosé is often discussed as an excellent wine to pair with vegetarian food. It suits the Indian palate as it is light and fresh like white wine, but with the body and fruitiness of a red wine. Blush-coloured medium sweet Moscato wines that are low in alcohol content are emerging as a trend amongst health-conscious consumers. This is something Australia can bring more of to the market.

“Wine-in-can” is a new segment that is targetted primarily at millennials for on-the-go consumption. We’ve already seen success for Australia in this area with Barokes.

All these trends support the notion that Australia will continue to be a leading choice for consumers in India.

With 19 million young people entering the drinking market each year and with young people a prime target audience for wines, how do you plan to address this target and the general wine drinking audience?

The perception of wine needs to be looked at. For a long time, wine has held a distinct position in the Indian consumers’ mind. It has been seen as a sophisticated and stylish drink as compared to other alcoholic beverages, like whiskey, scotch and rum that are considered men’s drink or gin, which might be considered a preference for females.

But the thing with wine is there are so many different varietals and tastes, that there is a type of wine for everyone.

If we can bring exciting options, like rosé or different sparkling varieties I think it can really excite new consumers and appeal to broader tastes.

Right now, wine consumption in India is largely limited to urban areas and metropolitans. Austrade advises its Aussie labels to focus not only on metros, but also to look at tier-2 and tourist locations.

Younger wine drinkers in India are an experimental group who are searching for new experiences; an appetite we hope to satisfy with Australian wine.

Beam Suntory global sales up 11%, India and China key markets for future growth

Beam Suntory, a world leader in premium spirits, reported full-year 2021 results, with sales up 11% globally. These results also demonstrated strong growth versus the pre-pandemic year of 2019, with sales also up 11% over the past two years.

The company’s 2021 results were led by sustained strength in off-premise sales, and very strong performance in markets where bars and restaurants reopened faster than expected. Markets including Germany, Russia, Spain, emerging Asia and Global Travel Retail all grew at double-digit rates, as did China and India, key markets for Beam Suntory’s future growth ambitions. Sales in the U.S. grew high-single digits, bolstered by robust demand for premium brands. Sales in Japan, up mid-single-digits, benefitted from strong demand for convenient ready-to-drink beverages like -196x but were impacted by extended on-premise restrictions.

Premium brands to the fore

By brand, results underscore the strength of consumer interest in premium brands. Sales grew double digits for brands including Maker’s Mark, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek, Booker’s and Legent bourbons, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Auchentoshan scotches, Hibiki, Hakushu and Toki Japanese whiskies, Sipsmith and Suntory Roku gins, and El Tesoro and Hornitos tequilas, while On the Rocks (acquired in 2020) continued to show exceptional growth. Beam Suntory’s flagship Jim Beam also demonstrated solid growth despite glass supply constraints affecting certain bottle sizes.

“We’re immensely proud of the results our business has been able to deliver in the face of historical challenges related to the pandemic, including on-premise closures and supply chain constraints,” said Albert Baladi, president & CEO of Beam Suntory. “Our results underscore the strength of our premiumisation strategy that relies on exceptional quality, superior storytelling, and executional excellence across consumer touchpoints.”

Strategic moves with accelerated investments

“Our confidence in the future is reinforced by the strategic moves we’re making, with accelerated investment in our business — including capacity, capabilities and our sustainability agenda — the 2021 acquisition of our route to market in Spain, and our upcoming joint innovations with Boston Beer. The people of Beam Suntory look forward to delivering another year of outstanding performance in 2022.”

Beam Suntory launched Proof Positive in 2021, the company’s comprehensive sustainability strategy, representing a $1 billion+ commitment to making a positive impact on nature, consumers and communities.

The key Proof Positive developments during 2021 include renewable energy usage; water conservation; sustainable brands; consumer focus and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion).

Renewable Energy Usage: All global manufacturing sites began purchasing renewable electricity (or renewable electricity certificates) in 2021, with the goal of 100% renewable electricity usage at across operations by the end of 2022. The Fred Booker Noe Distillery opened in 2021 in Clermont, KY powered by an electric boiler using renewable electricity. In 2022, a pilot project to generate “green” hydrogen will commence at the Ardmore distillery in Scotland. This work supports the company’s commitment to the Race to Zero initiative.

Water Conservation: Closed-Loop Cooling systems were installed in two of the company’s Kentucky distilleries, significantly reducing water usage. Through watershed sustainability collaborations, the company established the first Peatlands Water Sanctuary (Scotland) and the Charco Bendito Project (Mexico).

Sustainable Brands: Sipsmith Gin & Maker’s Mark both achieved B Corp certification in 2021. B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.

Consumer: Beam Suntory has increased options for low and no-ABV drinks with products like Sipsmith FreeGlider and the expansion of Lemon Sour Zero. The company is also applying nutrition labelling to key brands across Europe and the U.S. as part of its voluntary commitment to provide nutrition information and alcohol content information on packaging or online for all products by 2030.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): The percentage of female new hires increased 6% to 50% in 2021, with the US multicultural employee population increasing by 4% at both the mid- and senior-manager levels. New and expanded opportunities for internal multicultural talent also increased, accounting for 19% of US promotions and 21% for lateral promotions.

Russia’s alcohol market

As vodka comes under the spotlight amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, IWSR takes a deeper look at the Russian alcohol market.

Russia is the 4th largest alcohol market in the world in terms of volume, with imports accounting for 9% of total consumption. Whisky makes up 5% of Russia’s spirits consumption, and a third of its spirits imports. 91% of Russia’s whisky consumption is from imported whisky. While there have been calls to ban Russian-made goods in light of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, boycotts of Russian vodka brands will have a fairly minimal impact on Russian vodka producers. Any significant impact is more likely to be symbolic.

While Russia is the largest vodka producer in the world, with over 30% of global production, the vast majority (over 90%) of Russian-made vodka is consumed domestically.

Outside of Russia, the UK, Germany, the US and Israel round out the top five markets for Russian-made vodka, although volumes are relatively small.

Russian vodka accounts for under 3% of all vodka consumed in Europe (excluding CIS) by volume.

In the US, the world’s second largest vodka market by volume, Russian vodka accounts for less than 1% of all vodka consumed. Approximately half of all vodka consumed in the US is made in the US. While vodka is the country’s largest export, Russia is also a relatively large producer of beer and wine – though much of this is consumed domestically.

Russian beer makes up 1% of the global beer market. Over 99% of Russian beer is consumed domestically.

Similarly, Russia produces 2% of the world’s still wine, with almost all of it consumed locally.

Russia also produces 6% of the world’s sparkling wine, with 99% of it consumed domestically.

India Travel Retail Market

GROWTH, TRENDS, COVID 19 IMPACT AND FORECASTS (2021-2026)

Travel Retail is the next great frontier of the Indian Retail Sector, and as people’s incomes rise, India’s position as a business powerhouse and tourist destination will also continue to solidify, leading to the growth and prosperity of this industry.

Covid-19 has all but wiped out the travel industry in India and the passenger numbers continue to be affected in India even in 2021 owing to existing lockdowns and restrictions in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic. In 2020, less than 3 million foreign tourists visited India with a dip of around 75% when compared to 2019 due to travel restrictions imposed. The Covid-19 outbreak is impacting duty-free shopping behaviour, spend, and browsing likelihood on a category level, with this being particularly the case with luxury items in India. As a result of the pandemic, shoppers have moved to online shopping in greater swathes than before, and several travel retail operators, including Delhi Duty-Free, have introduced new online retail services facilitating home delivery of travel retail exclusive and duty-absorbed products.

A combination of a large and growing population, increasing air connectivity, inbound tourism, and the growing disposable incomes and propensity to travel internationally by India’s middle class are some of the major factors fuelling the growth of India’s travel retail market.

As per a research, it is estimated that nearly 80% of the country’s duty-free shoppers are Indians which is quite unlike other markets in the region, such as Korea or Thailand, where most duty-free sales are from international travellers rather than local travellers. However, this is likely to change with the growth in international tourism in the country. While India accounts for only 4.8% of the Asia Pacific region’s total international tourist arrivals, its year-on-year growth rate has been well above the region’s average in recent years and as of 2019, India attracted nearly 17.9 million international tourists. The changes by the Indian Government to its e-visa regime are simplifying procedures, making it friendlier to international tourists and these developments will further help in the growth of India’s travel retail market.

The growth of e-commerce can be seen as part of a broader digitalisation of the travel industry in India and especially airports. This is in part due to younger profiles of travellers, growth of low-cost airlines, and airport privatisation. The introduction of Goods and Service Tax (GST) has decreased the cost and time of logistics and interstate transport which has made the Indian retail market more lucrative for foreign investors who can invest in single brands, multi brands, wholesale/ cash and carry, e-commerce and duty free.

Travel Retail is commonly used to describe the duty-free retail industry, in addition to all retail activities dedicated to travellers and tourists. A complete background analysis of the Indian Travel Retail Market which includes an assessment of the economy, market overview, market size estimation for key segments, and emerging trends in the market, market dynamics, and key company profiles are covered in the report. The Indian Travel Retail Market is segmented by Product Type into Fashion and Accessories, Wine & Spirits, Tobacco, Food & Confectionary, Fragrances and Cosmetics, Others (Stationery, Electronics, Watches, Jewelry, etc.) and by Distribution Channel into Airports, Airlines, Ferries and Other Distribution Channels. The report offers market size and forecasts for the Indian Travel Retail Market in terms of value (USD Billion) for all the above segments.

Airports Constitute the Major Retail Channels in India’s Travel Retail Market

Nearly 50% of an international airport’s revenue is generated from duty-free and travel retail activities and in terms of sheer size and range offered, the duty-free retail areas at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai are nothing less than high-end malls. The largest duty-free area in India is currently operated by Mumbai Duty-Free at Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) followed by New Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) which is operated by New Delhi Duty-Free Services (DDFS). The duty-free revenue per passenger for New Delhi and Mumbai was the highest in India at USD 11 and 10 per passenger for FY2019.

The future of airport retail is defined by data, omnichannel, and personalisation. Online pre-purchase orders for airport pickup are more popular in the Indian market than anywhere else in the Asia Pacific region and there is a growing response by duty-free operators to the increasing flexible payment, ordering pickup, and delivery needs of customers. Delhi Duty-Free’s ‘Shop and Collect’ plan for instance offers an extra 10% discount to those who pre-book orders at the airport on their outbound journey and pick them upon return.

Canned alcoholic beverages market size worth $13.4 billion by 2028

The global canned alcoholic beverages market size is expected to reach USD 13.4 billion by 2028, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 13.3% from 2021 to 2028. Canned alcoholic beverages are gaining popularity among consumers since cans are more convenient, portable, and travel-friendly. Moreover, these metal cans are less expensive as compared to glass bottles and have a considerably higher recycling rate than glass.

In Asia Pacific, the market is expected to witness a CAGR of 13.9% from 2021 to 2028. The major factor driving the market in the region is the presence of young consumers and rapidly growing economies.
The wine segment is projected to register the fastest CAGR of 13.7% from 2021 to 2028. The rising awareness among consumers for more eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bottles coupled with the growing taste for convenient products is propelling the demand for canned wine.


The online segment is expected to register the fastest CAGR of 13.6% from 2021 to 2028. The hassle-free shopping experience offered by various online platforms is expected to drive the growth of the segment.


The hand seltzers segment held the largest revenue share in 2020 and is expected to maintain its dominance over the forecast period. Hard seltzers are carbonated water-based drinks, which are usually infused with fruits and spirits. These have become quite popular among millennials due to their low alcohol content. Low prices of hard seltzer, easy availability across supermarkets and convenience stores are factors anticipated to boost their sales in the upcoming years.


The liquor stores segment contributed a majority of the share to become the largest division in the global revenue in 2020. These stores have been a widespread and well-established distribution channel for canned alcoholic beverages. The wide availability of both premium and private label brands at these stores attract consumers to purchase products through these channels.


In addition, a report published by Fior Markets claims the global functional beverages market is expected to grow from $125.39 billion in 2020 to $216.7 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 7.08% during the forecast period 2021-2028.


Functional beverages are liquids that often contain a health claim and are used to hydrate the body and maintain nutritional balance. On the basis of type, the global functional beverages market is segmented into drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, herbal and fruit teas, fortified water, rehydration solutions, dairy beverages, non-dairy beverages and others.


The energy drinks segment dominated the market and held the largest market share of 20.9% in the year 2020. This growth is attributed to the rising adoption of energy drinks and the increase in reliance on them for instant energy amongst an increasingly busy population.


The market is booming and there’s already a large number of brands. Some popular drinks include Tequila Cazadores RTDs, Onda Sparkling Tequila, Miami Cocktail Co., Dogfish Head RTDs, St. Agrestis Spritz, and Lunar Tamarind & Rice Paddy Herb.

Tequila Cazadores RTDs
These ready-to-drink (RTD) tequila cocktails are available in Margarita, Spicy Margarita and Paloma flavours and continue the trend of tequila RTDs outshining almost all other canned drinks.


Onda Sparkling Tequila
The best designed of the tequila RTDs, this sparkling beverage (which features actress Shay Mitchell as the “Chief Brand Officer”) just launched two new flavours, Watermelon and an incredibly refreshing Blood Orange. Fizzy, light and citrusy.

Miami Cocktail Co.
While this RTD brand flashes a lot of healthy catchphrases (vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, “clean calorie”) their organic spritzes should appeal to anyone. Ridiculously great in hot weather, the brand offers everything from Rosé Bellini Spritz to a Grapefruit & Hibiscus Paloma Spritz.

Dogfish Head RTDs
It turns out it takes a brewery (and distillery) to finally make a good vodka soda. The Blueberry Shrub RTD here is light but flavourful. And brown spirits fans: The Cherry Bergamot Whiskey Sour is the rare summer-ready whiskey drink.

 

St. Agrestis Spritz

The Spritz however, is a refreshing, herbal/citrus combo of the St. Agrestis Paradiso Aperitivo, sparkling Italian wine and sparkling water.

Lunar Tamarind & Rice Paddy Herb
Described as the “first and only Asian American craft hard seltzer made with real, premium fruits and ingredients from Asia,” the brand just launched a limited-edition “Heritage” line that pays tribute to well-known Asian foods and is co-developed with New York-based chefs and owners of popular local restaurants. The Tamarind & Rice Paddy Herb release will be unlike any canned drink you’ll try now … and portends a promising and innovative future for the category.


Beverage Cans Market size is estimated to reach $17.24bn by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.9% during the forecast period 2020-2025. Beverage cans are the metal containers that are used to store liquid drinks like alcoholic beverages, carbonated soft drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, energy or sports drinks and others. These cans are usually made of aluminum and steel. The increased demand for the alcohol beverage which is to be stored at low temperatures is driving the usage of this beverage cans as they help in storing the drinks at low temperatures which helps to hold the taste and properties of drinks. The rise in health concerns among the people to avoid plastic containers as they are harmful and non-bio-degradable is driving the usage of beverage cans market during the forecast period 2020-2025.


The global Beverage Cans Market based on Material type has Aluminum and Steel. The Aluminum segment registers for the highest market share in 2019 and is set to continue for the forecast period 2020-2025, owing to the increased usage of aluminum in making beverages cans. Overs 70% of beverage cans are made of aluminum globally. Aluminum cans are easily recycled with properties like lightweight and easy to manufacture, transport and are economical. Having many advantages over other materials is driving the market of aluminum beverage cans during the forecast period 2020-2025. The steel beverage cans are having below-average growth as they are heavy and is set to react with beverages in those cans, however, cans made with a composition of steel and other material are being introduced into the market to decrease the cost of beverage cans.
Based on geography the global Beverage Cans Market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World. North America had a dominant share in terms of revenue in 2019 and it holds the largest market share during the forecast period 2020-2025, owing to the availability of the high number of consumers of aluminum can stored beverages. The Asia-Pacific region is also set to have healthy growth during the forecast period 2020-2025, owing to the availability of a large population and increased consumption of beverages. The availability of large raw materials like aluminum and steel are also factors that are supporting the growth of the market in the Asia-Pacific region.

Beverage Cans Market Drivers
Increased consumption of beverages
The increase in the consumption of beverages globally is driving the demand for beverage cans. Increased promotional activities by different manufacturers of beverages to increase demand for drinks are driving the usage of beverage cans owing to increased sales of beverages. Beverage cans being eco-friendly, recyclable and lightweight are driving the market growth during the forecast period 2020-2025.

Beverage Cans Market Challenges
Fluctuation in the cost of raw materials
The fluctuations in the cost of raw material are challenging the production of the beverage cans. The defects in three-piece type cans, such as leaks, inability to withstand high pressures and temperatures are challenging the market during the forecast period 2020-2025.

Brexit deal scrutiny begins as trade document published

Commenting as the UK and EU agreed a free trade deal, Scotch Whisky Association Chief Executive Karen Betts said: “It’s very good news that the UK and EU have agreed a free trade deal, providing Scotch Whisky producers with more certainty about how we continue to export to our largest regional market. “We will now need a common-sense approach to the application of new rules and new border procedures from 1 January to help businesses manage the transition smoothly. The UK Government and EU Member States will need to be flexible with producers, logistics companies and importers as they get to grips with the significant changes that will take effect in just 7 days’ time.” Legal experts and MPs were poring over the 1,246-page document published on the morning of Boxing Day, as Boris Johnson worked to persuade Eurosceptic Tories to back it as the “right deal” for the country.

The Prime Minister acknowledged to Conservative MPs that “the devil is in the detail” but insisted it would stand up to inspection from the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteers, who will assemble a panel of lawyers to examine the full text ahead of a Commons vote. But the chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation, Barrie Deas, accused Mr Johnson of having “bottled it” on fishing quotas to secure only “a fraction of what the UK has a right to under international law”.

The share of fish in British waters that the UK can catch will rise from about half now to two-thirds by the end of the five-and-a-half-year transition. The EU’s 27 member states indicated they will formally back the deal agreed by the UK with Brussels’ officials within days. It covers trade worth about £660 billion and means goods can be sold without tariffs or quotas in the EU market. EU ambassadors were briefed on the contents of the deal by Michel Barnier, who led Brussels’ negotiating team in the talks with the UK.

After a highly unusual meeting on Christmas Day – with at least one diplomat wearing a Santa hat and another in a festive jumper – they agreed to write to the European Parliament to say they intend to take a decision on the provisional application of the deal. The timing of the Christmas Eve deal forced politicians and officials in the UK and Brussels to tear up their plans. MPs and peers will be called back to Westminster on December 30 to vote on the deal, but MEPs are not expected to approve it until the new year, meaning it will have to apply provisionally until they give it the green light. The agreement will almost certainly be passed by Parliament, with Labour supporting it, as the alternative would be a chaotic no-deal situation on January 1.

But Mr Johnson is keen to retain the support of the Eurosceptics on his benches who helped him reach No 10. Mr Johnson had earlier messaged Tory MPs on WhatsApp as he tried to get them all on side. “I truly believe this is the right deal for the UK and the EU,” he wrote, in a message seen by the PA news agency. “We have delivered on every one of our manifesto commitments: control of money, borders, laws, fish and all the rest. “But even more important, I believe we now have a basis for long-term friendship and partnership with the EU as sovereign equals.” He added that “I know the devil is in the detail” but the deal will survive “ruthless” scrutiny from the “star chamber legal eagles” The “star chamber” is the nickname given to the panel assembled by the ERG, including veteran Eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash. Officials in Brussels and the capitals of EU states are also beginning to scrutinise the deal, with another meeting of ambassadors expected before the new year, possibly on December 28.

The European Commission has also announced a £4.5 billion fund to help regions and industries within the bloc which will be hit by the UK’s withdrawal from the single market and customs union – including fishing communities who face losing out as the UK takes a greater share of stock in British waters. French Europe minister Clement Beaune said it was a “good agreement” and stressed the EU had not accepted a deal “at all costs”. Mr Beaune said that British food and industrial products entering the European single market after January 1 will not pay customs duties “but will have to meet all our standards”.