UK distillery numbers grow 15%

17th January, 2018 by Amy Hopkins

A total of 49 new distilleries opened in the UK last year, while seven closed, according to HMRC figures released by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Consumer interest in gin and craft cocktails means new distilleries continue to open around the UK

Across the UK, there are now 315 distilleries – more than double the number operating five years ago.

England welcomed 22 new distilleries in 2017, while 20 opened in Scotland, four in Wales, and three in Northern Ireland.

This marked a 15% increase in the total number of UK distilleries, showing that growth has slowed from a high of +27% in 2015.

Nevertheless, the WSTA said the continued increase is “welcome news” and credited the gin boom and ‘craft cocktail craze’ that are sweeping the UK for the swell of openings.

UK gin sales have doubled in value over the last six years and reached £1.2 billion (US$1.6bn) in the 12 months to September 2017.

“Gin is the key driver behind the surge in new distillery openings in the UK in the last five years,” commented Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA. “New gin brands continue to pop up on our supermarket shelves, on a regular basis, as Brits show no sign of tiring of the quintessentially British spirit.

“It wasn’t that many years ago when a pub would stock one gin brand and now a gin menu offering a range of gins and mixers is common place in our pubs and bars.”

UK distillery openings have gone up by 172% from 116 since 2010, when the WSTA first started collecting HMRC distillery license data.

Latest figures show England is witnessing the most rapid growth in terms of new distilleries, accounting for 56% of all openings in the last eight years. A total of 135 distilleries are now licensed in the country.

2 Responses to “UK distillery numbers grow 15%”

  1. Is there a list available to see which distillers opened and closed?

  2. DTS says:

    Seven distilleries closed? Really? I can’t think of any. It’d be interesting to know which ones.

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