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UK distillery openings boom post-Covid

UK-made spirits are on the up following Covid-19, according to new research, which revealed a 42.8% surge in the number of UK distilleries compared with pre-pandemic figures.

UK distillery openings boom post-Covid

National accountancy group UHY Hacker Young has reported that 54 new distilleries popped up in the UK in 2023. This brings the national number to 387 distilleries registered across the country, up 8.7% from 356 distilleries in 2022.

England experienced the biggest uptick, with 48 new distilleries registered last year — a 20% increase from 40 registrations in 2022.

Scotland, the home of Scotch whisky, reported three new distilleries registered in 2023, down from a surge of eight registrations in 2022.

Whisky as a category is responsible for the bulk of UK spirits sales, and is now worth a quarter of all UK food and drink export value.

UK drinks exports increased by 13% in 2023, from £8.3 billion in 2021/22 to £9.4bn in 2022/23, HMRC data shows.

The export of spirits makes up a significant proportion of the total value, with whisky now accounting for over a quarter of all UK food and drink exports at a value of £5.6bn in 2023, the Scotch Whisky Association has reported.

James Simmonds, Partner at UHY Hacker Young, said: “Strong levels of demand are seeing new distillers continue to enter the market, while savvy entrepreneurs in the business are also taking advantage of additional revenue streams such as distillery tours and tastings.”


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