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Booming Asian and South American markets to thank for gin bounce back

Exports of British gin bounced back by more than a third in 2022 despite “ongoing challenges”, HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) data cited by trade body The Gin Guild has revealed.

British gin exports bounce back thanks to booming Asian and South American markets

The total value of UK gin exports rose by £189.4 million to £730.9 million, up by more than one third on 2021 figures. Exports also exceeded pre-pandemic numbers from 2019 by 9%, an encouraging sign especially as inflation and energy costs continue to plague the industry.

Pal Gleed, director general of The Gin Guild, said of the results: “Despite the ongoing challenges of spiralling energy costs, price inflation, rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine, which all affect trading conditions, gin distillers have shown their resilience and their ability to innovate over the past three years.

“The growth in exports reflects the quality, variety and reputation of British gin. Bartenders and restaurants want to serve it and consumers want to drink it, alongside the high-quality gins now being produced across the world.

“These latest figures show the potential for gin sales to continue to grow around the world as the spirit gains market share from other drinks which have traditionally dominated in some countries.”

The US remains the UK’s largest export market for gin, with 2022 exports totalling more than £218 million, a 6% increase on the pre-pandemic (2019) figure.

South American markets, particularly that of Brazil, Argentina and Chile, have seen massive growth. The Asian market has also seen significant growth, with exports to Japan up by £2.3 million, to India by £4.5 million, to the United Arab Emirates by £4.9 million, to Turkey by £3 million and to South Korea by £1.4 million since 2019.

Exports to the EU have fallen by 4% since 2019. Spain remains a key market for British-made gin, exports to the country have fallen by a third to £62.4 million since 2019 as the impact of Brexit continues to be felt. Irish exports have also seen a drop, but Italy bucks the trend with significant growth.

Despite a growing presence in other markets, UK consumer tastes are changing. Some are turning away from gin and looking further afield to Tequila and rum for new serves. Imports of gin into the UK are still nearly one quarter down on the 2019 figure, a fall of more than £8 million.

The biggest falls are imports of gin from the EU, a drop of one third or almost £10 million since 2019, with the impact of Brexit clearly continuing, and imports from North America, which have fallen by more than half, a drop of £2.2 million.

However, the 2022 figure shows 2% growth from 2021, suggesting the import market is slowly recovering somewhat.

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