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Gin aims to match £4bn export success of whisky

The UK gin industry is aiming to match the export success of whisky with the help of a range of new government-backed initiatives.

As the gin renaissance continues, UK producers are aiming to replicate the export success of whisky

On a recent visit to the London-based Beefeater and Sipsmith distilleries, environment secretary Elizabeth Truss spoke of her ambition to see gin exports reach £4 billion, matching that of the UK’s whisky industry.

The UK is currently the world’s leading exporter of gin, with 1bn British gin and tonic consumed in the US, Spain, Germany, and Canada last year.

Meanwhile, the nation’s craft gin industry continues to boom, with 56 new micro-distilleries opened up in the past two years. Overall the number of UK gin brands has doubled since 2010, from 31 to 73.

However, Truss said the government wants to further British gin’s global reach by targeting the emerging markets, principally India, Brazil and the Far East.

“This is fertile ground with enormous opportunities,” she said. “There is absolutely no reason why our gin trade can’t be as successful as whisky, which made £4 billion for our economy last year.

“I want to harness the ambition of our ‘gin-trepreneurs’ and see them match that in years to come, helping us and building a stronger one nation economy for the UK.

“We will continue to unleash the creative spirit of our food and drink entrepreneurs by giving them the freedom, the technology, the research and the people to think big, take risks and build profitable businesses.”

Key initiatives

Truss added that in addition to opening up more food and drink export markets and cutting spirits duty by 2%, the government is working with the industry to ensure gin is served at key overseas embassies.

Record amounts of data will be released to support small gin producers, including satellite imagery that could be used to pinpoint the purest water sources for distillation.

In addition, the government is working with the industry to develop a 25-year plan to “boost productivity and growth” in the food and drink sectors.

Karen Morgan, the UK’s first ever food counsellor in China, has also been appointed to open up greater food and drink exports in the market.

“This is an extremely exciting time for all the UK gin industry,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA).

“We have seen an explosion in British gin production with the latest figures showing that an astounding 56 distilleries have sprung up in just two years. British gin has a strong, vibrant history and its renaissance continues to go from strength to strength”.

Figures recently revealed that the UK exported a record-breaking £394m worth of gin in 2014, enough to make more than 1.6bn gin and tonics.

For a more in-depth look at which new UK gin brands have hit the market, click here.

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