UK EU exit a threat to British gin boom
Leaving the EU could “apply the brakes” to the UK’s booming gin industry – which has seen global exports increase by 46% in the past five years – the UK’s exchequer secretary to the Treasury has warned.
Speaking in support of the UK remaining in the EU Damian Hinds, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, warned that leaving the EU could risk UK drinks exports, but particularly gin which he said is “undergoing a remarkable renaissance” worldwide.
Last year 49 new distilleries opened across the UK, with that number rising to 117 in the last five years.
“The message from industry voices and famous gin makers like Beefeater is clear; leaving the EU would hit exports hard and could apply the brakes to the gin boom,” said Hinds.
“I believe that gin like the rest of our spirits industry will be stronger, safer and better off within a reformed EU.”
Sales of British gin have already reached more than £2 billion since 2010. Of those exports, 45% end up in countries within the EU, with those sales worth £189 million in 2015. Seven of the top ten gin export markets by value are inside the EU. The other three are US, Canada and Australia, with UK gin exports to non EU countries reaching £231 million in 2015.
Speaking at the 2016 Ginposium in London Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) also added support for the UK remaining inside the EU, stating that the UK gin industry had benefitted greatly from its membership in the EU and that leaving could risk its continued growth.
“EU regulations covering gin are a force for good and have provided a springboard for the global and growing success of British gin,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, speaking at the 2016 Ginposium.
“The high quality, inherent Britishness and simplicity have led to an explosion of new and innovative gins on the market. Thanks to the resurgence in cocktail making and a sprinkling of the Downton Abbey effect, British gin is now a growing global phenomenon.”
The Ginposium, held annually, brought together some of the most respected personalities and experts in the gin trade at the seminar in Covent Garden on Thursday, 12 May.
Beale’s comments follow those made by the Scotch Whisky Association’s David Frost, who last week backed warnings by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Trust that leaving the EU would be a “leap in to the dark” and could put the industry’s £1 billion worth of Scotch exports at risk.
A survey carried out by the WSTA of its members found that, of those who responded, 90% supported the UK’s continued membership of the EU, 2% were in favour of the UK leaving, and the remainder (8%) were undecided or impartial.