Churchills favourite tipple to be legalised soon thanks to Brexit

Michael Portillo explains why he voted for Brexit

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A minister has indicated that legislation tearing up EU red tape and regulations will restore the ability of shops to sell wine in pint bottles. The move would have delighted Winston Churchill whose believed it to be the perfect way to serve champagne – in a pint bottle.

A written answer to former minister Tim Loughton revealed that the government is planning on restoring the ability to sell wine by the pint or half litre in bottles.

The move will reverse 50 years of regulation introduced this year when Britain’s membership of what was to become the EU saw many imperial measurements abolished as part of the European metric standardisation.

It also led to a change in the currency seeing old coins like the shilling and farthing taken out of use.

In a written answer, business minister Kevin Holinrake told him: “The quantities in which pre-packed alcohol, including English sparkling wine, can be sold will be considered as part of the Government’s review of EU-derived law. Further details will be provided in due course.”

The move was part of plans previously considered by former brexit Opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg who had also proposed that sparkling wine should also be allowed to be sold in plastic containers sparking controversy with the wine industry.

However, the answer also came against a background of concerns that Rishi Sunak’s government will water down the Brexit reforms and not scrap as many rules as previously planned.

Legislation on repealing EU red tape and bringing other parts of it into British law properly is set to be tabled next week in what MPs see as a difficult week ahead for the government.

Hoever, even if there is a change in the law to allow Churchill’s favourite measure of champagne back it may take some time before they are on sale again.

Experts told the Drink Business last year it would be “extremely difficult” to start creating new bottles and even if they were available they would not hit the shelves for another four years in 2027 because of the time it takes for the fizz to age sufficiently.

With normal wine it may take much less time.

James Simpson MW managing director, Pol Roger last year said:“Unless and until the law on pint bottles is changed (and it is decided whether the authorised pint bottle is 500ml or 568ml, being the Imperial Pint) no producer, whether English or French, is going to go down the route of commissioning new glass moulds.”

Winston Churchill famously once explained why a pint of Champagne was the ideal measure claiming that it was “enough for two at lunch and one at dinner”.

Currently, authorised wine and champagne bottle sizes range from the mini bottle of 20cl to the standard 75cl to a Magnum of 1.5 litres and then various sizes up to a Nebuchadnezzar of 15 litres.


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