January 23, 2020

2016 – The year of Gin

The East India Company London Dry launched in 2016

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s latest Market Report shows that Brits’ love for a gin and tonic is not restricted to the summer months as sales continue to fizz into the festive season. 

The report, published today (Thursday 8 December), reveals gin sales in pubs, bars and restaurants (on trade) in 12 months (to 1/10/16) went up +19 per cent, on the same period last year, worth £619m.

The public’s unquenchable thirst for the quintessentially British spirit is also reflected in the amount of gin sold in our shops, supermarkets and off licences (off trade) which in 12 months (to 5/11/16)  went up +13 per cent, worth £437m.

Gin broke the £1bn sales mark in the on-and-off trade for the first time ever in in the UK in 2016, 6 months ahead of forecasts, making it a record breaking year for gin.

For six consecutive quarters, on trade sales of gin have seen double digit growth, outperforming every other spirits category.

Since the first WSTA Market Report released in 2012, gin sales in our pubs, bars and restaurants have increased by £300m – the equivalent of an annual boost of £3,750 extra to every UK pub.

We have also seen sales of gin in shops, supermarkets and off licences increase by 68 per cent since 2012.

Eden Mill Gin

283,000 hectolitres, the equivalent of 40m bottles, of gin have been sold in the on and off trade in UK in the last 12 months which works out as 1.12bn gin and tonics.

This year’s volume sales of gin have gone up the equivalent of an extra 7m bottles compared to 2012, which is the equivalent of around 200m G&Ts.

Trends in government data show indisputably that the UK has been drinking ever more responsibly over the last ten years – with consumption dropping by a fifth.

With the market shrinking and gin sales booming it shows more and more customers are choosing premium products, like gin, as their chosen tipple.

The Brits can also boast that three out of every four bottles of gin imported around the world are from the UK.

British gin is now sold overseas in 139 countries around the world with America, Canada, Spain and Germany buying the most.

UK gin brands have benefited from America’s love for hit shows like Downton Abbey and the James Bond franchise helping to sell £159m worth of British gin to the Americans in 2015.

British gin exports to the US have risen by a staggering 553 per cent in the last decade.

40 new distilleries have opened in 2016 (up to  1/12/16) – according to the HMRC – which, when added to the 56 opened in 2015, means we are close to seeing 100 new distilleries opening in the UK in two years.

In 2010 there were only 116 distilleries in existence in the UK, according to HMRC.

Scottish produced Caorunn Gin2016 also saw the launch of the WSTA Scotland Gin trail attracting interest from gin lovers across the globe.

In the 2016 International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) 96 gins from the UK won medals. This is up from 75 in 2015.

We’ve seen British gins made using conkers, grape skins, acorns, ants and seaweed.

We (and Mary Berry!) enjoyed seeing a gin & tonic drizzle cake on Great British Bake Off.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “There are many reasons why people may not feel like celebrating 2016 but the WSTA are pleased to give you something happy to reflect on – 2016 can now be remembered as the ‘Great British Gin Take Off’.

Foxhole Gin

“We hope that government supports our innovative gin makers who have driven an extraordinary increase in UK exports, up 166 per cent since 2000.

“We would like to remind government that cutting excise duty boosts business and brings more money into the Treasury.

“Following the cut in spirits duty in the 2015 budget, spirits duty income increased on the previous year by £125m (+4.1 per cent) from April 2015 to March 2016 inclusive.

“The UK spirit industry is one of the most heavily taxed in Europe with 76 per cent of a bottle of spirits accounted for by tax, the fourth highest duty rate for spirits in the EU.

“Let’s make sure gin continues to boom in 2017.”