Record year for UK gin, with growth predicted to continue

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Record year for UK gin, with growth predicted to continue

Related tags International trade Gin

The UK saw sales of gin hit over £900m ($1,284m) last year, while the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) predicts growth will continue.

Gin sold in supermarkets and off licences reached £400m ($568m), while restaurants, bars and pubs accounted for £500m ($710m), according to figures released in the WSTA’s quarterly market report.

The UK has experienced a ‘gin revival’ in recent years, and research from Mintel​ suggests that the spirit is attracting a new generation of consumers to push it to new heights.

‘Hugely exciting time’ for the industry

As in other beverage categories, the trend for premiumization is taking hold, with value sales outstretching volume.

Gin sales in shops reached £401m ($568m) in the 12 months ending January 30, 2016. This was up 10% on the previous year. Volumes of gin sold increased by 8%.

In the 12 weeks between November 2015 and January 2016, gin grew 13% in value and volume.

Miles Beale, chief executive, Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said the figures prove it is a ‘hugely exciting time’ for everyone in the UK’s gin industry, particularly with the rise in the number of distilleries established recently.  

In 2015, 49 new distilleries opened in the UK, while 117 new distilleries were set up over the last five years.

Export potential

More than two thirds of gin distilled in the UK is exported, according to the WSTA. Over the last five years exports have risen by 37%, with sales to 139 countries now worth £1.76bn ($2.5bn).

In August last year, the UK government said it believes gin exports can grow to match the success of whisky​ (an export category valued at $4bn / $5.68bn in 2014).  It pointed to the growth in the number of UK gin brands, which doubled from 31 to 73 between 2010 and 2014, thanks to demand for new brands using locally sourced ingredients and natural botanicals.

However, the WSTA says that gin exports face the challenge of the UK’s spirits duty, which it says is the fourth highest in the EU (at £7.26 per average bottle, compared to £2.18 in Germany). 

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