‘Booze cruises’ on the rise ahead of Brexit – Majestic

Majestic has reported a rise of the 'booze cruise' - UK visitors stocking up on wine at its Calais stores - attributing it to Brexit fears and millennial wine lovers.

In February 2019, sales at the Calais Majestic stores increased by 49% year on year, which the company have called their ‘biggest ever month outside of Christmas.’

Pre-orders that were to be collected from February onwards have increased 78% compared to February 2018.

‘This is a new generation of cruiser millennials,’ said Joshua Lincoln, managing director at Majestic Wine.

‘It’s couples getting ready for their summer weddings now. It’s day trippers from the Scottish Highlands taking on a mammoth trek.’

Both customer numbers and order value have increased by over 20%, making the company believe that these are not the same customers who have been coming previously.

‘It’s not necessarily people buying as much as they can, as cheaply as they can,’ said Lincoln.

‘These are wine lovers spending the same as they would in the UK, and getting considerably better bottles for it. And they’re doing it now.’

Majestic also believes that ‘stocking up is back’ due to Brexit uncertainty.

In its UK stores, Majestic was bringing in between £5m and £8m of additional stock in its current financial year, to the end of March 2019, ahead of the UK leaving the European Union.

The ‘booze cruise’

Starting as a 1990s phenomenon, cheap ‘booze cruise’ ferry or Channel tunnel crossings to France offered significant savings on purchasing wine and spirits, due to the lower tax on alcohol.

Although the exchange rate is not as favourable as then, there are savings of at least £3 per bottle of wine, according to Majestic, who also offers to pay for the ferry crossing for pre-orders of wine.

The Calais Wine Superstore will also pay for ferry or tunnel crossings for those who spend over £250.