Close Menu

UK gin exports fall £30m in 2021

The value of UK gin exports dropped by more than £30 million (US$40.6m) last year due to the pandemic and Brexit, new figures have revealed.

Gin exports
Gin exports have been hit by on-trade closures and Brexit, according to The Gin Guild

HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) data cited by trade body The Gin Guild revealed UK exports of gin fell to £541.5m (US$733.3) in 2021, with exports to the EU falling by more than a quarter since 2019.

British gin sales to the EU dropped to £228m (US$308.7m) last year – £88.5m (US$119.8m) lower than the 2019 figure.

Gin exports from the UK tumbled by £100 million (US$139m) in 2020.

However, The Gin Guild noted some growth in markets such as Latin America and other non-EU countries in Europe.

The trade group also singled out Spain, Italy and Germany as popular markets for gin, but exports to these countries have fallen by £58m (US$78.5m) since 2019.

Exports to the US – the UK’s largest overseas market for the category – decreased by nearly £50m (US$67m), mainly due to the closure of the on-trade, The Gin Guild said.

Nicholas Cook, director general of The Gin Guild, said the figures reflected the “significant effects” of the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK’s departure from the EU.

He continued: “Gin distillers have faced a greatly reduced demand from the hospitality industry, which is only now beginning to recover from a year of closures and restrictions. This affected all, but especially the smaller producers whose route to market was largely via local venues rather than through established retail and online sales.”

Cook also noted logistical challenges for distillers exporting to the EU, including importing key materials such as bottles and botanicals, as well as staff shortages due to many EU nationals leaving the industry.

He added: “Brexit has also started to impact through the creeping divergence of the spirit regulations between the EU and the UK, excluding Northern Ireland.

“Over 30-plus years across Europe trade routes were established, supply chains created, comprehensive product sourcing put in place. All with zero tariffs and minimum bureaucracy and easy distribution across the whole of the EU. While 27 nations still enjoy this, the UK sadly doesn’t.

“Gin has been a major UK success story in recent years and I hope the renaissance of our industry has not peaked because of the self-inflicted loss of easy access to the EU market.”

The Gin Guild will hold its industry seminar Ginposium in London at the RSA on 2 June 2022, after two years of virtual, pre-recorded events.

Gin recorded stagnant sales in the UK last year, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, while Tequila and liqueurs increased by double digits.

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