UK gin exports beat predictions to reach £530m high in 2017

Exports of British gin reached a record high in 2017 having more than doubled in the past decade, breaking the £500m mark predicted in 2016 to reach £530 million, the latest figures from HMRC have revealed.

In 2017, exports of British gin rose by 12% in value, increasing by more than was predicted in 2016.

HMRC’s latest figures show that £530 million worth of UK gin was sold abroad in 2017 – the equivalent of almost 189 million 70cl bottles, up from 177 million bottles in 2016.

Since 2008, exports of British gin have more than doubled, from £258 million to £530 million.

On the back of these results, The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) is now predicting that gin will be a £2 billion industry by the end of this year.

The USA remains the largest importer of UK gin, with sales up by almost £12 million on the previous year to reach £184 million.

By region, however, the EU is the biggest destination for UK gin with a 16% growth rate in 2017. With £100 million worth of gin sales, Spain is not only the largest market within the EU but it is bigger than the next five markets (Germany, Italy, France, Greece and Belgium) combined.

Asia and Oceania witnessed a 13% rise in value sales in 2017, from 28.1 million to 31.7 million. The Middle East and north Africa saw sales rise by a third, from £7 million to £9.4 million, while the ‘stores and provisions’ sector, referring to products that go onto cruise ships or airlines which are re-stocked in the UK, grew by 77% compared to 2016.

The WSTA believes the strong performance across the board makes the case for the removal of tariffs that will allow for the continued growth of spirits exports upon leaving the EU.

Commenting on the new figures, WSTA chief executive, Miles Beale, said: “It has been another phenomenal year of export growth for our British gin producers. There’s no doubt that those overseas are drawn to the quality of gin made here – but gin is also a quintessentially British spirit, and perfect for anyone looking to tap into Brand Britain overseas.

“We are, by some margin, the largest exporter of gin in the world, with huge potential for growth, and our industry needs to take further advantage of this. On leaving the EU, we want more government support to increase exports to developed markets such as Australia, Japan, China and the US. The removal of tariffs would allow Britain to maintain its position as the world’s largest spirits exporter and further boost the UK economy and provide more jobs.

“Ambassadors and senior diplomats can start supporting our mission to help gin exports grow even further by committing to serve British gin at events both home and abroad”.

In the year ending 9 September 2017, Brits bought a record 47 million bottles of gin with domestic gin sales reaching £1.2 billion in the 12 months to September 2017.

Last month, HMRC revealed that a total of 49 new distilleries were opened in the UK in 2017, bringing the total to 315 and representing a 127% rise in five years. The WSTA attributes the rise to the so-called ‘gin-naissance’ and the craft cocktail boom.

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