World Gin Day: the gin boom continues to soar

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

On the up: gin sales have grown more than any other spirit sold in the UK in the past year.
On the up: gin sales have grown more than any other spirit sold in the UK in the past year.
Sales of gin in the UK have grown 12% in volume in the past 12 months and the category is now worth £655m, according to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

WSTA figures have revealed production reached 56,000hl (8m bottles), marking growth of 15% compared to the previous year, ahead of World Gin Day, which takes places tomorrow (Saturday 10 June).

Statistics also showed the UK exports its gin to 139 countries and, since 2000, exports rose by 73% in volume and 166% in value.

The future of gin is not easy to predict, but the WSTA said the growing number of gins on the UK market could mean more producers look overseas to export to new markets.

Innovation is one way gin could evolve, particularly through barrel-ageing, as consumers are increasingly willing to spend more for an 'experience'.

This also includes drinkers delving into the heritage of what they are consuming through becoming increasingly interested in the locality, provenance and authenticity of their tipples.

The WSTA said spirits such as gin are attractive to consumers who have increasingly sophisticated palates, thanks to its range of botanicals.

In the past, drinkers were less concerned about where a gin came from or what botanicals were used, whereas now consumers' interest in these areas can influence choice.

Quick entry to market

Gin in numbers:

  • The UK drank the equivalent of 1.12bn gin and tonic drinks in 2016.
  • Gin sales have grown more than any other spirit sold in the UK in the past year.
  • The UK exports British gin to 139 countries around the world.
  • Since 2000, gin exports have risen by 73% in volume and 166% in value.
  • The UK is the biggest gin exporter in the world.
  • The growth of gin has helped spirits duty revenues overtake that of beer and contribute more money to the Government, a total sum of £3.4m.

Figures sourced from the Wine & Spirits Trade Association​.

Gin can be distilled, bottled and sold in just weeks, meaning its entry to market is quick and, as consumer demand for gin grows, so does the number of gins on the market.

The category should innovate in order to maintain drive and this could come into play with gins taking on new marketing techniques to gain a competitive edge, the WSTA said.

But it isn’t just the spirit itself that is on the rise, the number of UK distilleries soared from 128 in 2012 to 273 in 2016, a staggering 113% increase, according to the WSTA’s latest figures.

Earlier this year (February), the trade association predicted exports of gin will hit £500m this summer​ following figures released from HMRC.

The statistics revealed £474m worth of British gin was sold abroad in 2016, up 12% and worth £53m more than the previous year.

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale hailed the growth of the spirit as ‘the great British gin take off’, calling it a global phenomenon.

Gin problems

This year’s World Gin Day coincides with gin being available on tap at sea, this weekend after Pickering’s Gin launched a new collection of gins especially for Cunard’s three luxury liners.

Beale called this advance a great way of showcasing to the world the excellence of British gin and that Pickering’s was tapping into the provenance trend.

Also, Diageo Reserve super-premium gin brand Tanqueray No. Ten partnered with a number of venues across the UK to create a series of summer drinks terraces last month (May).

The activations were established to engage the on-trade and inspire consumers in line with a new platform, ‘It’s what you put in’.

Each terrace featured a range of innovative menus and bespoke Tanqueray No. Ten serves, including the signature Tanqueray No. Ten and tonic.

Meanwhile, last spring (May), gin lovers took to social media to voice their concerns over issues​ which could happen with their favourite tipple.

Worries included flat or no tonic, inappropriate glassware, the importance of the garnish, finding the right mixer and being served a gin and tonic without any ice, garnish or straw.

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails, Spirits

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