Turnover of independent craft distillers hit £350m in the past year, up 123% from £157m in 2011-12.
Funding Options, the online business finance supermarket that collated the data, says the success of many independent producers in attracting bids or strategic investments from multinationals, is encouraging more smaller distilleries to enter the market.
In December 2016, UK craft gin maker Sipsmith was bought by Japanese spirits conglomerate Beam Suntory. In February 2017, Italian drinks company Gruppo Campari acquired super-premium London dry gin company, Bulldog Gin.
Overall sales of gin in the UK broke the £1bn mark for the first time in 2016.
Another key factor in the strength of vodka and gin is down to the relatively quick process involved in the production of the spirits. Gin and vodka distillers are able to generate revenue more quickly than whisky producers who have to wait for the product to fully mature before going to market.
Funding Options founder Conrad Ford said: “Independent distillers are flying high. Boutique gin is a remarkable UK export success story.”
“What we are also seeing is a growing number of smaller gin companies where they outsource production to a larger manufacturer while they are responsible for the marketing and the recipe design. As they grow, they need to borrow funds to bring production in house.”
New brands and tastes
“Gin has enjoyed something of a renaissance and has become the drink of choice for many discerning consumers. This demand has allowed distillers to experiment with new brands and tastes, which has further stimulated demand. Similar trends are being seen in vodka distilling.”
“These artisan drinks can also command a higher premium than other household brands because many often contain unusual ingredients or are specially sourced.”
Earlier this month, it was revealed that London is now home to 24 gin distilleries – more than existed in the whole of the England in 2010.