Boom year for the most British of drinks

gin rum
Gin sales in the UK break the £1bn mark for the first time ever

Gin has seen a resurgence as the trendy tipple of choice recently and 2016 has so far been a record year for the aromatic spirit. According to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s latest Market Report gin sales in pubs, bars and restaurants (on trade) in 12 months (to 1/10/16) went up +19%, on the same period last year, worth £619m.

The amount of gin sold in our shops, supermarkets and off licences (off trade) which in 12 months (to 5/11/16)  went up +13%, worth £437m.

All in all gin sales broke the £1bn sales mark in the on-and-off trade for the first time ever in in the UK in 2016, 6 months ahead of forecasts, making it a record breaking year for gin.

For six consecutive quarters, on trade sales of gin have seen double digit growth, outperforming every other spirits category; 283,000 hectolitres, the equivalent of 40 million bottles, of gin have been sold in the on and off trade in UK in the last twelve months which works out as 1.12bn gin and tonics.

Quality over quantity

However government data shows that UK alcohol consumption per capita has dropped by a fifth over the last ten years. It appears that even though the market is shrinking, drinkers are choosing more premium products, like gin. Sales of sparkling wines including Champagne, was the next biggest growth sector, with sales up 12%.

Overall, the wider British alcohol market rose 2% to £40bn. Following the cut in spirits duty in the 2015 budget, spirits duty income increased on the previous year by £125m (+4.1%) from April 2015 to March 2016 inclusive.

Export success

British gin has also seen a huge export growth; 3 out of every 4 bottles of gin imported around the world are from the UK. British gin is now sold overseas in 139 countries around the world with America, Canada, Spain and Germany buying the most. British gin exports to the USA have risen by a staggering 553% in the last decade with £159m worth of British gin sold to the Americans in 2015.

Whether this growth can be sustained is another matter – every trend reaches its peak and now rum looks set to be the next contender for hip tipple of choice.

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