Record number of UK distilleries open in 2015

10th March, 2016 by Amy Hopkins

A record-breaking 49 new distilleries opened in the UK last year, at the same time as on- and off-trade gin sales hit almost £1 billion in the market.

UK distilleries

The UK gin boom is going from strength to strength, data from the WSTA confirms

Ahead of releasing its quarterly Market Report, trade body the Wine and Spirit Association (WSTA) revealed that UK supermarkets and off licenses sold £400m worth of gin for the first time in 2015 – an increase of 10% compared to 2014.

Meanwhile, restaurants, bars and pubs sold £500m worth of gin, prompting the WSTA to forecast the total on- and off-trade gin sales in the UK will surpass £1bn fir the first time in 2016.

WSTA also claims that shoppers are willing to spend more on a bottle of gin, since value sales (+10%) are outstretching volume (+8%). In the 12 weeks from November 2015 to January 2016, value and volume gin sales both increased 13%.

HMRC data also shows that the number of new UK distilleries increased 50% last year, with 49 new distilleries opening across the country in 2015. Over the last five years, 117 new distilleries have opened, bringing the total number of UK distilleries to 233 (see table below).

“This is a hugely exciting time for everyone involved in the UK gin industry. We have seen an incredible rise in the number of distilleries setting up in the last year,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.

“The WSTA Market Report shows that the sales of gin in our supermarkets and shops have broken the £400 million mark and half a billion pounds worth has been sold in pubs, bars and restaurants.

“This is a massive achievement and shows the Great British spirit continues to boom.”

More than two thirds of gin distilled in the UK is exported overseas, with sales to 139 countries worth £1.76bn. Exports have risen 37% in the past five years alone, claims the WSTA.

HMRC England Northern Ireland Scotland Wales
2010 23 2 90 1 116
2011 25 2 89 1 117
2012 34 2 91 1 128
2013 46 4 96 6 152
2014 66 4 108 6 184
2015 91 11 119 12 233
2014-15 25 7 11 6 49
2014-15 45% 1000% 10% 100%
Growth 2010-2015 296% 450% 32% 1100% 117


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