Record-breaking gin sales over festive period

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Popular spirit: gin is continuing to break records
Popular spirit: gin is continuing to break records
Volume sales of gin broke records over Christmas last year and the trend is set to continue, according to spirit experts.

Across the on and off-trade, more than 16m bottles of gin, worth £413m were sold in the 12 weeks to the end of December, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association's (WSTA) latest figures have found.

This was an extra 3.5m bottles bought, up 28% in volume compared to 2016’s festive season, worth an additional £104m.

The rapid growth in UK distilleries and the increasing number of gin brands, which hit the market last year helped 2017 break all previous records in volume and value sales.

The WSTA’s most recent Market Report, ​set to be published later today, shows that in the whole of 2017, more than 51m bottles of gin, worth almost £1.4m, were sold in the UK, up 27% in volume, the equivalent of over 9.5m more bottles than in 2016.

This is the equivalent of every adult in the UK buying a bottle of gin in 2017.

Record breaking

Across the board sales of gin in pubs, bars, restaurants, supermarkets and shops have beaten all previous sales recorded annually and quarterly.

Last year was also a record-breaking year for British gin exports, which broke the £500m barrier, hitting £530m in value sales.

Adding exports to sales at home it adds up to more than £1.9bn, meaning gin is within touching distance of becoming a £2bn industry in the UK.

Britain now houses 315 distilleries in the UK, more than double the number that were operating across the country five years ago.

There are now more than 100 British gin brands on the market but because the spirit comes on the market so frequently, the exact number is unknown, according to the WSTA.

However, it added that the number of gins now available in Britain has more than doubled since 2011.

Versatility of gin

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale revealed the secret behind the gin boom as a mixture of heritage, skill and promiscuous consumers.

He said: “We were amazed by the growth of gin in 2016, but 2017 sales of the quintessentially British spirit have surpassed all records again.

“At the WSTA we are constantly being asked what is the magic formula behind the growth in gin sales is.

“It is a delightful combination of a quality British product steeped in history combined with skilful innovation by UK distillers who are producing a huge range of gins catering for the consumers’ increasingly sophisticated palates.

“The versatility of gin with its diverse use of botanicals means there is now a gin out there for everyone.”

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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