Close Menu

Tequila and liqueur sales soar in the UK

Sales of Tequila and liqueurs in the UK off-trade increased by double digits in the 12 months to 11 September 2021, while gin recorded a stagnant performance, according to a new report.

The value of liqueurs reached £561m (US$740m) in the UK

The latest Market Report from trade body the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) revealed that more than 1.5 million bottles of Tequila were sold in the UK’s shops and supermarkets in the year to 11 September 2021.

The category’s value reached £33 million (US$43.5m) in the off-trade, led by consumers moving away from using Tequila in cocktails to sipping it neat, the WSTA said. However, it remains the smallest subcategory of spirits in the UK.

Liqueur sales also jumped by double digits over the same period, rising by 27%, equal to more than 44m bottles sold. The value of liqueurs reached £561m (US$740m) in the UK.

The WSTA attributed this growth to the popularity of colourful liqueurs as drinkers made more cocktails at home.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “The liqueur category covers an array of colours and flavours making liqueur drinks very popular to share on social media. With the public having to find different ways of brightening up their weekends during the lockdown in the first half of this year we saw a keenness to experiment with new and exciting drinks choices.”

As a result of prolonged on-trade closures over the last 12 months, spirit sales in the off-trade increased, the WSTA noted.

Vodka remained the most popular spirit to drink at home (see table below), selling more than 102m bottles over the year. It was followed by whisky at nearly 86m bottles and gin, with more than 73m bottles.

Liqueurs took the fourth place position, while rum was the fifth-biggest spirit category with 13% volume growth. More than 37m bottles of rum were sold over the 12-month period.

Gin, which has historically broken growth records over the last five years, saw its sales drop slightly. The category was down by 1% in volume and 2% in value.

UK alcohol tax proposal

However, Beale warned that the UK government’s plan to overhaul the alcohol tax system could hamper the growth of spirits.

He said: “We are mystified by a proposal that embeds unfairness between products meaning that the most popular spirit drinks will pay, for the same amount of alcohol, the highest rate of duty of any category of drink.

“For those who enjoy a G&T at home, under the government’s proposals you will pay 45p duty on a double G&T in a can, but if you pour yourself a double gin at home and then dilute with tonic you will pay 57p duty for your efforts.

“The government proposals seem wholly contradictory to the stated aims of ironing out inequalities, instead it’s introduced yet more.”

Flavoured gin sales in the UK surpassed £500m (US$705m) for the first time this year, according to the WSTA.

WSTA table
WSTA’s Market Report data for the 12 months to 11 September 2021, covering off-trade spirits sales

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No