UK gin smashes export record in 2016By Annie Hayes
British gin exports grew by 12% in 2016 to hit an all-time high, with sales overseas worth £474 million, HMRC figures released by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) show.
The industry was worth £53m more last year than in 2015, with 139 countries in total now bulk buying British gin.
UK gin exports have seen a “meteoric” rise since 2012, the trade body said, adding the equivalent value of £227m. Volume sales have also risen by 36%.
If current trends continue, exports will hit £500m by summer 2017.
“The ‘Great British Gin Take Off’ has grown into a global phenomenon,” said WSTA chief executive, Miles Beale.
“The quality of the gin combined with the world’s love for brand Britain has seen British gin breaking records both at home and abroad. It is fantastic to see the quintessentially British spirit supporting a wider industry with gin-themed gifts now selling like hot cakes.”
Last month, the WSTA launched a campaign calling for a 2% cut to wine and spirits duty in the UK in the upcoming budget.
“Britain is by far the biggest exporter of spirits in the world,” said Beale. “We want the Government to get behind British business by supporting its spirit industry to help it reach its potential.
“The UK has the fourth highest excise duty rate on spirits in the EU, making British gin’s achievement more impressive. A modest 2% duty cut is a winning tonic that would boost the UK drinks industry, its employees and consumers as well as generating additional revenue to help public finances.”
Gin sales continue to soar in the UK, with total sales close to £1.1bn. More than 41 million bottles were sold last year, up 12% on the previous year.
More than a third of the bottles sold in 2016 were during the festive season in the 12 weeks to New Year.
In addition, 44 new distilleries opened in 2016 – and in the last two years, 100 new licences have been issued.
Online gift store, Not on the High Street, said sales of gin products shot up 51% on the previous year, with searches for ‘gin’ on the site up 31%.
Lucy Wilson, category manager for food and drink at Not on the High Street, said: “We’ve seen the trend for gin-themed gifts continue to grow throughout 2016. The public’s seemingly unquenchable demand for these gifts has resulted in a boom of products on site this year, including our popular Gin Tours and Gin & Tonic Lip Balm.
“Within our food and drink category we now sell 114 different gins and gin cocktail kits, with a wide range of unusual flavours including hot cross bun, raspberry and mint gin.”