Calais booze cruise after Brexit: How Britons can get cheap booze to the UK across Channel

Brexit: Wine connoisseur on cutting of 'red tape' tests

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Since Brexit, British people can bring up to 42 litres of beer or 18 litres of non-sparkling wine, about 24 standard bottles, back to the UK from the EU. Britons can bring back up to four litres of spirits over 22 percent alcohol content.

British tourists are permitted to bring up to nine litres of fortified or sparkling wine and other alcoholic drinks of up to 22 percent alcohol content.

While this might put a stop to some Britons bringing back a year’s supply of alcohol from France, the permitted amount can still make Calais worth a trip.

As the allowance is per person over the age of 18, a couple crossing the channel could bring back up to 48 bottles of wine.

French winesellers have said they believe the changes will put the emphasis on quality over quantity.

Discerning Britons could pick up some top-quality wines for a bargain price by making the trip to Calais.

Since Brexit, British tourists can reclaim VAT on goods, including alcohol in participating shops in the EU.

Many of Calais’ winesellers are signed up to the scheme, so Britons can save on top quality bottles.

Some of the city’s warehouses will even allow British shoppers to reclaim VAT on purchases almost immediately.

Jérome Pont, of Calais Vins, told The Local: “It was not an answer to just give a Gallic shrug to the new realities of Brexit.

“We are here to help our customers. So now we can give them a tax-free voucher that allows them to reclaim the VAT as soon as they embark in Calais, thanks to our partnership with Global Blue and Skiptax.

“There is also around 15 percent VAT that can be reclaimed on purchases from Calais Vins.

“We forged these partnerships to enable our customers to reclaim VAT on boarding at the Eurotunnel and ferry terminals in Calais.

“By simply scanning a barcode at the kiosks at the Calais port terminals, the refund process is activated.

“Or if using Skiptax, travellers just need to download an app and follow the simple instructions.

“All my staff speak English. We know the tastes of our British customers and are able to advise them according to their desires and also to propose food and wine pairings.

“We well know the tastes of our British clientele and here they will find some very coveted ‘appellations’.”

Pont recommended Fleurie, Médoc, Nuits-Sant-Georges, Meursault, Chinon, Chablis and Pomerol wines for British buyers.

Calais booze cruises were extremely popular before the pandemic hit with many Britons hopping over the Channel for bargains.

Although the new restrictions make bulk buying harder, a group of four could still bring back almost 100 bottles of wine.

Trips to the Calais wine warehouses are particularly useful for open bar weddings or big events as well as being popular with wine connoisseurs.

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