Cheap ‘booze cruises’ to Calais are here to stay despite Brexit

Our famous Calais booze cruise is here to stay despite Brexit taking place.

Companies across the water are calling on Brits to keep making trips across the Channel to stock up on their favourite tipple following fears they will end after we leave the EU.

Tourists can currently bring back bottles of wine, even though there are limits about how much people can stuff into their car.

But shops in the French border town are adamant the cruises will not change, especially if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal at the end of the transition period on December 31.

And they want to see more of us making the journey to buy up cheap plonk in bulk this year.

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Calais Wine Superstore’s Xavier Debuire said: “I was much more worried last year to be honest.

“We were concerned that there would be an immediate stop on buying large quantities but that hasn’t been the case.”

Wine seller Marco Attard thinks it is quiet at the moment because customers have been stockpiling.

He’s now hoping to see a spring boom in UK booze cruisers.

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Regular customers also believe it will be business as usual because the savings are huge.

Keith Cass, 64, from Kent, was in Calais this week buying booze.

He said: “It’s so convenient, we left home at 8.15am and we’ll be back home by lunchtime. At the moment everything is exactly the same and we hope it stays that way.”

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Paul Brooks, 52, from Surrey, was also stockpiling. He said: “We spend about £400 a trip, the savings are massive.

“If they took away the unlimited quantities it would really hack us off. I don’t think it will cause us too much aggravation.”

Paul’s wife Debbie, 50, added: “Don’t tax the wine!”

Duty free shipping for EU countries ended after the creation of the single market in 1999, but it meant day trippers could pop across the Channel and bring back 110 litres of beer and 90 litres of cheap wine.

The UK government adds almost £2.30 tax per bottle of wine, compared to 2p in France.

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It’s now hoped the French and British governments will do a deal to ensure the Calais booze cruise continues when we split away fully from the bloc at the end of 2020.

Jerome Pont, who runs Calais Vins, said: “We need each other and hopefully the governments will recognise that.”

Meanwhile, politicians in Calais have launched plans to make the whole area duty free.

Its mayor Natacha Bouchart wants the French government to authorise a tax free zone.

Local deputy Philippe Mignonet said: “Our mayor is fighting for the whole of Calais to benefit from the same duty free rules as the ferries.”

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