British gin exports break £500m barrier

12th February, 2018 by Melita Kiely

Gin’s popularity shows little sign of waning as British exports of the juniper-based spirit smashed the £500 million (US$692m) barrier for the first time last year.

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UK gin exports exceeded £500m for the first time in 2017

Data from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) showed UK gin exports topped £530m in 2017 – the highest to date and a 7% increase in volume compared to the previous year.

Furthermore, gin exports have doubled in value over the last decade, growing by 12% in value over the last 12 months alone.

The WSTA correctly forecast that the UK’s gin exports would break the £500m barrier, and believes the industry will be worth £2 billion (US$2.77bn) globally by the end of 2018.

Market-wise, the US remains the largest importer of UK gin with sales to the US worth £184m (US$255m) – an increase of almost £12m (US$16.6m) from 2016.

British gin exports to Europe grew 16% last year, with Spain boasting £100m of gin sales. This makes Spain bigger than the next five markets combined: Germany, Italy, France, Greece and Belgium.

Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive, said: “We are, by some margin, the largest exporter of gin in the world, with huge potential for growth, and our industry needs to take further advantage of this.

“On leaving the EU, we want more government support to increase exports to developed markets such as Australia, Japan, China and the US.

“The removal of tariffs would allow Britain to maintain its position as the world’s largest spirits exporter and further boost the UK economy and provide more jobs.

“Ambassadors and senior diplomats can start supporting our mission to help gin exports grow even further by committing to serve British gin at events both home and abroad.”

Last week, Scotland’s Twin River Distillery unveiled the “world’s strongest” gin, bottled at 77% abv.

There has been much talk over the last year or two about a “gin fallout” due to the vast number of new entrants to the category – but is gin here to stay?

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