Brits buy record 47 million bottles of gin in a year
Sales of gin in the UK have risen by seven million bottles, reaching a record 47 million bottles in a year, the equivalent of 1.32 billion gin and tonics, according to new figures released by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA.)
Those who predicted that the gin boom is set to continue, at least for the next couple of years, have been proved right once again. According to the latest market report from the WSTA, this is set to be yet another bumper sales quarter for gin in the UK.
In the year ending 9 September 2017, 47 million bottles of gin were bought in the UK, an increase of 7 million bottles compared to the same period last year.
Gin sales increased by the highest margin in the off-trade, rising by 19% by volume in the past year (ending 9 September 2017) to total 268,000hls (38.7m bottles) worth £538m, a 25% increase in value compared to last year.
Gin sales in the on-trade have risen 15% by volume in the past year (ending 9 September 2017) to total 61,000hls (8.8m bottles) worth £729m, a 19% increase in value compared to last year.
These figures mean that gin has experienced yet another double figure sales rise across the on- and off-trade.
In the 12 weeks ending September 2017, gin sales were particularly buoyant, increasing by 26% in volume and 34% in value in the off-trade, compared to the same period last year. During the same period in the on-trade, volume sales were up by 23% and value sales by 28%.
The figures confirm the findings of a recent YouGov poll which found that gin is now the most popular spirit among UK drinkers, with 29% of participants saying that it is their favourite spirit, beating rivals whisky (25%) and vodka (23%). Gin has risen from third place in the same poll conducted a year ago.
Sales of British gin abroad have also grown dramatically and are now worth more than beef and cereals. In 2016, the UK exported a record £474m of gin making it the seventh most valuable food and drink export.
British gin is now exported to a total of 139 countries and since 2012, exports have increased by 32% in value and 37% in volume, making the UK the largest gin exporter in the world.
The top three largest export destinations by volume for UK gin are the USA, Spain and Germany. Gin exports to France, Italy, Portugal and Belgium have all more than doubled in volume in the past five years.
Commenting on the findings, Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “The latest WSTA market report is showing yet another sparkling result for gin sales in the UK. The British public show no signs of growing tired of trying new gins with well over 100 brands now available on the UK Market. It comes as no surprise that gin has climbed to the top of a poll of most popular spirit drinks.
“Gin is a very versatile spirit which works well in cocktails as well as in a traditional G&T serve. Although gin is predominantly juniper based our innovative gin distillers are now offering a range of gins infused with locally sourced botanicals, including seaweed, rhubarb and even Christmas gins with frankincense and myrrh.”
“Gin’s versatility has proved it is attractive to consumers who have increasingly sophisticated palettes. In the past people were less concerned about where a gin came from or what botanicals it used; now, consumers are now more interested in a gin’s back story”.
2017: a year in gin
- In January, gin was saved for posterity after it was announced that juniper, its main ingredient, was to be added to the UK’s national seed bank.
- In February, the WSTA announced that the UK exported £474 million worth of gin in 2016, smashing the previous year’s record, with exports expected to hit the £500 million mark before the end of 2017.
- In March, gin was added to the ONS’s inflation basket for the first time in 13 years.
- In April, certainly aided by the rise of gin, the WSTA reported that the number of distilleries being registered in the UK had risen by 17% in past year.
- In June, the WSTA reported that gin sales had pushed spirits revenue above that of beer for the first time.
- Also in June, UK retailer Waitrose reported that gin sales had surpassed those of all other spirits, having increased by 20% year-on-year.
- In October and in a year that could be dubbed ‘the year of the gin-themed accessory,’ Edinburgh-based distillery Pickering’s unveiled ambitious commercial plans to quadruple its turnover to £4 million boosted by the production of one million gin-filled festive baubles for Christmas.
- In November, the Chancellor froze duty on alcohol. Consumers pay £8.05 in spirits duty for the average-priced bottle of gin which means that duty and VAT make up 77% of the total cost.
- In December, the WSTA reported that sales of gin had reached a record 47 million bottles in the year ending 9 September 2017.
- This year, the drinks business asked industry experts if the gin category has become too big to fail, and also asked whether more should be done to educate the consumer on gin’s ever-evolving sub-categories.