UK alcohol sales benefit from ‘dramatic’ gin demand
Total UK spirits sales in both the on- and off-trade grew by 2% in 2016/17, bolstered by double-digit gains from the gin category, according to new figures from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).
Gin sales increased “dramatically” in the year ending 17 June 2017, surpassing £500 million in the on-trade for the first time, according to the WSTA’s Market Report.
In the off-trade, the category continues to be the “standout performer”, up by 16% to reach £687m – outselling rum and ‘specialty’ spirits for the fourth consecutive quarter.
Nick King, DipWSET, WSET certified spirits educator and product development manager of spirits and sake at WSET, said: “It is hard to put one’s finger on exactly when gin suddenly became a thing but in my mind it is linked to a wider movement of localness, smallness of production, different flavours and authenticity.”
“Clearly gin is the drink of the moment,” added William Lowe DipWSET, WSET certified spirits educator and master distiller at the Cambridge Distillery.
“The well documented renaissance is far from slowing down, with early movers such as Bombay Sapphire, Hendrick’s and Sipsmith making enormous in-roads. Production and demand are in strong growth, which inevitably attracts more people to the party.”
Tequila grew sales by 8% in the off-trade to total £14m, but the category remained static in the on-trade, with sales hovering around the £160m mark.
Off-trade rum sales demonstrated “good growth” year-on-year, up by 5% to reach £340m spurred by flavoured and spiced rum, while in the on-trade the category enjoyed 4% growth to reach £634m.
Total yearly sales of liqueurs increased on last year, up 4% in the on-trade to reach £792m, while in the off-trade the category grew by 1% to £344m.
Despite a decline whisky’s largest sub-category – blended Scotch – overall yearly sales in the off-trade remained flat at £1,199m. The category fared slightly better in the on-trade, up by 2% to £1,064m.