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Defra secretary calls for London gin distillery trail

Liz Truss, the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, has called on the UK drinks industry to create a London Gin distillery trail to attract more drinks tourists to the capital.

Far from being the ‘Mother’s Ruin’ depicted by Hogarth, London gin is now the focus for international drinks tourism (Photo: Wikipedia)

Fuelled by the emergence of a number of small, micro gins and growth in premium brands, gin is a booming industry in the UK.

Given royal protection by William of Orange in the 17th century, gin production has a rich history on these shores. With the number of UK distilleries growing from 116 in 2010 to 184 last year – the majority of which are located in London – Ms Truss said it was time to showcase the quality and diversity of such locally made spirits.

“This is a particularly exciting time for the industry,” Ms Truss said.

Ms Truss mooted the idea of establishing a gin trail last month when she visited Sipsmith’s and Beefeater’s distilleries in London with the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

The WSTA is in the process of creating a trail to include these and other distilleries across London as a new tourist attraction, and to help Ms Truss’s campaign to raise the profile of British food and drink.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said a London gin trail would help “put the drink and its association with our capital city firmly on the tourist map”.

A total of 1.6 billion gin and tonics were sold globally in 2014, seeing the UK take the top spot as the world’s leading exporter of gin.

Ms Truss has spoken of her ambition to see the gin exports match those of whisky, which topped £4 billion in 2014.

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