City finds itself double booked

CITY swillers may find themselves double-booked next month, as the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) and TheCityUK host their annual summer drinks parties on the same night.

Both groups are holding their summer soirees on 16 June, thrusting City types into a sorry case of diary clash, with the two parties taking place at the same time, but miles apart. The BBA shindig is set to start from 6:30pm on Great George Street in Westminster, while TheCityUK’s reception will kick off near Cannon Street at 6pm. When contacted by The Capitalist, a spokesperson for TheCityUK noted the 30-minute difference in start times, and said that the organisation’s party “should be a great evening for the people we work with right across the industry”.

Indeed, party planners from both groups should expect overlap in the invite lists. TheCityUK invitation said its reception would be “an informal gathering of senior individuals from the financial and related professional services sector, alongside policymakers and other leading government figures,” while the BBA said it “brings together industry professionals, policymakers, regulators and politicians.”

▪ Don’t pop the corks just yet. Robert Cremonese, the export manager of Prosecco brand Bisol, says “there is a very real possibility of a global shortage” of the fizzy beverage this summer due to a lacklustre harvest last year. Cremonese told industry publication The Drinks Business that because the demand for Prosecco is so high at the moment, French wine merchants are being extra-careful about how they release to the market. Cremonese also said the merchants are taking the chance to hike prices, in some cases by as much as 50 per cent. That’s bad news for British drinkers craving some cocktails now that the weather is warm. The latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel show that Brits are more likely to drink the Italian Prosecco than its more-famous French counterpart, Champagne. Last year, drinkers in the UK went through 28m bottles of Prosecco, while just 17.3m bottles of Champagne and the Spanish alternative, Cava, were consumed in total. Worryingly, Cremonese said uncertainty in the Prosecco market could persist through the summer: “We’ll find out how big the problem is in August when the brokers release their stock.” In the meantime, Brits should hold on to the bubbly they have, as the next cocktail party crisis could be right around the corner...a pathogen that destroyed Italian olive groves last year is expected to lead to an olive oil shortage in the months ahead.