Number of distilleries up thanks to gin boom

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Praise: WSTA chief executive Miles Beale lauded the growth
Praise: WSTA chief executive Miles Beale lauded the growth

Related tags: Scotch whisky, England, United kingdom

The registration of new distilleries rose by almost a fifth (17%) last year, according to a report from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association WSTA), which is based on data from HM Revenue & Customs.

These figures include five known licence cancellations in 2016, three in England and two in Scotland, which brings the total to an estimated 273 distilleries in the UK.

Distilleries in England contributed two-thirds of the 45 new licences granted in 2016.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said the "rapid growth" of distilleries, up 135% since 2010, was a "positive sign" for the spirits industry.

Gin boom

He said: “From traditional products like Scotch, to the Great British gin boom and newer products like English and Welsh Whisky, it is an exciting time for spirit producers across the UK.

“Consumers here at home and around the world have developed a real thirst for top-quality British spirits, and a new distillery is coming online at the equivalent rate of one per week to rise to that challenge.

“As the Government negotiates free-trade deals with Europe and third countries there is a real opportunity for the UK to boost its exporting capacity by trading quality spirits overseas."

International exports

He added: “We have already seen how successful and in-demand British gin is to 139 countries around the world.

“But we believe, with the right support, the industry can go further to access more markets overseas.”

In February this year, the British Beer & Pub Association dismissed the WSTA’s calls for a cut in wine and spirit duty​ and reiterated its own calls for cuts in beer duty.

The WSTA called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cut wine and spirit duty by 2%​ and challenged every UK wine business to lobby their MP to avoid wine being singled out for “worse treatment” by the Chancellor.

However, duty rose in this year’s spring Budget​ and the WSTA estimated that duty on a 750ml bottle of wine would increase by 8p, while duty on a 70cl bottle of vodka would rise by 28p. 

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails, Spirits

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