London re-established as gin capital of the UK

By James Beeson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Epicentre: the capital boasts a fifth of the total number of distilleries in the whole of England
Epicentre: the capital boasts a fifth of the total number of distilleries in the whole of England

Related tags: Spirit trade association, Gin, The capital, Chancellor

London is now home to 24 gin distilleries - more than existed in the whole of the England in 2010 – according to new statistics revealed by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

The capital also boasts a fifth of the total number of distilleries in the whole of England, while more adults in the city drink gin (28%) than in any other region in the UK.

London has seen more than 20 specialist gin-themed bars open in the past couple of years, helping to quench the capital's thirst for the quintessentially British spirit.

However, the city’s gin makers have warned that any increase in spirit duty in the Chancellor’s Budget later this month could stifle the creative start-ups that have helped drive the gin renaissance.

Four London distillers have teamed up with the WSTA, and 17 other distilleries nationwide, to write to the Chancellor calling for him to scrap planned duty rises for the second time this year.

Support English made products

In March the chancellor increased spirit duty by inflation at 3.9% which added 30p to an average priced bottle of spirits. Yet despite the rise, the Chancellor now plans another increase in spirit duty - just eight months after the last one - of 3.4% adding another 26p to the price of a bottle.

James Hayman, of Hayman’s gin in Balham, said: “At a time of great uncertainty for the UK regarding our future International trading relationships, it is imperative that the Government supports products made in England.

“The resurgence of gin has had such a positive impact on our economy and the Government needs to ensure this can continue by not increasing duty further.”

Alex Wolpert, founder of the East London Liquor Company, added: “We absolutely support a freeze to spirit duty, particularly as this is an opportunistic second increase this year at a time, the Government knows only too well, when alcohol sales increase considerably over the festive period. Duty already accounts for approximately 40% of our bottle price.

“With the current economic landscape, including the cost of living increasing and wages at an all-time low, the consumer ends up being the one to foot the Chancellor’s duty increase, perpetuating the problem of the public’s expendable income being further reduced.”

Industry 'reeling from a big tax hit'

Wine & Spirit Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale said: “The recent surge in numbers of gin distilleries and bars opening in London is a real bonus for the capital bringing a welcome lift to the economy, tourism and also creating jobs.

“Instead of supporting these industries, which are already reeling from a big tax hit in March, the Chancellor is expected to hit them with another rise this month. We are calling on Philip Hammond to scrap planned rises. This would give the London distillers a significant boost, which will also benefit consumers.”

The WSTA’s most recent sales figures show 8.3m bottles of gin were sold, worth £687m, in pubs, bars and restaurants in the past 12 months. 

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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