Brexit to spur revival of rare British Carbonated Wine style

Graphic: Rob Johnson

Britain’s departure from the EU could spur the revival of a historical, but often overlooked wine style: British Carbonated Wine.

‘As Britain throws off the shackles of the hated EU wine law, we must grasp this heaven-sent opportunity to re-energise our traditional drinks!’ said Sir Tarquin Gammon, the Chief Executive of the Anglo-Saxon Sparkling Wine Institute of Patriotic Exporters (ASSWIPE).

‘Forget carbon neutral, Britain needs to embrace its past and become carbonated positive!’

Originally popular in the 1950s and 1960s British Carbonated Wines (BCW) are a heady blend of rehydrated grape must, flavourings and CO2.

Invented by food scientist Otto Lytic using grape juice, cough sweets and a prototype of the Sodastream the category still follows the stringent rules that ‘the British Dom Perignon’ first laid out 60 years ago.

The rehydrated grape must is limited to coming ‘from anywhere that grows grapes’ while flavourings have to be ‘natural or man-made but not toxic’.

All BCW wines must have the trademark ‘enlivening burst of carbon dioxide naturally provided by a canister.’

The ASSWIPE team are mainly targeting the ‘senior and semi-aspirational classes’, and Gammon believes they could see ‘literally dozens of cases’ flying off the shelves at the crucial and highly lucrative £4.99 price point.

Export strategy centres around a ‘Brexit Bubbles’ campaign that will engage with social media influencers in the key markets of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, the Falklands and St Helena.

‘Cheap, British and cheap…’

‘I’ve dreamt of flying the flag for British Carbonated Wine for decades,’ says Gammon, who runs a logistics company importing dehydrated grape pomace from Turkey. ‘Ten years ago when it was all this “upselling” nonsense nobody gave us a look in. But now the country is bankrupt this is a product whose time has come.’

Figures, he says, back him up.

‘There’s buckets of evidence that consumers are sick and tired of expensive foreign muck like Prosecco and Champagne,’ he went on. ‘In 2020 they want something cheap, British and cheap. In that order.’

Gammon’s ‘Veuve Clacton’ BCW is flavoured with a ‘carefully curated selection of E-numbers’. The back label describes the wine as ‘fun, great value and as British as the inside of John Bull’s vaping pipe’.

Admitting that it was ‘largely made out of leftovers to hit a price point,’ Gammon advised against ‘getting too hung up’ on the flavour.

‘If we’ve learned one thing over the last five years,’ he told Fake Booze, ‘it’s that bigotry trumps taste, sense and logic every time.’

Thanks to Peter Stafford-Bow for his interview with Sir Tarquin Gammon. Peter is still recovering from his brush with Veuve Clacton, but you can find more of his work on his website here.