Just the tonic for alcohol industry as sales of gin top £900m for first time

Gin sales in the UK have topped £900million for the first time, official figures confirm.

Sales of the spirit – once dubbed ‘mother’s ruin’ – reached the £400 million mark over the past year in British supermarkets and off licences.

Meanwhile in pubs, restaurants and bars across the UK more than £500m of gin was downed between January 2015-16.

Industry experts now confidently predict gin sales will break the £1 billion mark over the year ahead.

The new figures, released in the Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s quarterly Market Report, represented a 10 per cent rise in gin sales in shops over the past year.

Gin sales in bars, restaurants and pubs show gin adding more than £200 million in sales since 2012, up a whopping 20% in the last 12 months to January.

Getty Gin and tonic

Gin and tonic
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the WSTA, said: “This is a hugely exciting time for everyone involved in the UK gin industry. We have seen an incredible rise in the number of distilleries setting up in the last year

“The WSTA Market Report shows that the sales of gin in our supermarkets and shops have broken the £400 million mark and half a billion pounds worth has been sold in pubs, bars and restaurants.

“This is a massive achievement and shows the Great British spirit continues to boom.”

Experts say trendy herbal versions have helped to boost sales.

Read more: Pub has 600 types of gin

Gin’s popularity has also been put down to the fact that it doesn’t contain sugar.

An HMRC report last year showed that gin brands such as Beefeater and Sipsmith had made the UK the number one gin exporter.

There has also been an increase in distilleries opening in England and Scotland over recent years.
Between 2010 and 2015 a total of 117 new spirit distilleries opened in the UK – with
49 established in the last year alone.

Figures from the UK government reveal the Great British spirit is experiencing an international revival – more than two thirds of the gin distilled in the UK goes to discerning drinkers overseas.

Exports have risen by 37% in the past five years, with sales to 139 countries, worth £1.76 billion.

Other spirits to experience a surge in popularity over the past year are golden/dark rum, non cream liqueurs and Tequila.

Less popular were Vodka and white Rum.

The WSTA is the UK organisation for the wine and spirit industry, representing over 300 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wine and spirits.

The gin boom has brought in an additional £38m in the past year including £16.6m in duty and £21m in VAT.

Despite the record breaking growth in the UK’s spirits market, UK spirits duty is still the fourth highest in the EU at £7.26 on an average bottle, compared to £2.18 in Germany.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “Consumers are outraged that excise duty on wine and spirits is so much higher in the UK in comparison to our European counterparts. This isn’t just unfair on UK consumers it’s also unfair on great British businesses, like those emerging right now creating export-friendly British gin.”

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