The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA)’s end of year market report showed a jump in gin sales over the summer, taking total sales value to more than £1.9bn.
More than 66m bottles of gin were sold in the UK in the last 12 months, up 41%, and over 19m more bottles than the same period in the previous year.
More gin was sold during the three months of the summer heatwave in 2018, when the equivalent of almost 28m bottles were bought, than the summers of 2014 and 2015 combined, which saw almost 27m bottles sold.
This quarter saw gin grow by 53% by volume and 59% in value compared to the same period in 2017, the largest growth by a quarter on record for gin and the first time a spirit has seen growth of more than 50%.
The nation’s pubs, bars and restaurants saw the largest growth in value sales of gin where, for the first time in a 12-month period, sales passed £1bn with over 56% more gin sold than last year.
So many gins were served over the bar in the last recorded 12 months, the gin category has jumped two places in the spirits leaderboard.
It is now the second most popular drink sold in the on-trade, behind vodka, overtaking whiskies and liqueurs for the first time.
A huge part of the gin surge this year has been down to sales of pink and flavoured gin, as Britain has seen hundreds of NPDs coming to market.
Data has shown flavoured gin has driven more than half of all growth in the spirit in the past recorded 12 months, despite only making up one-fifth of total sales.
Almost three-quarters of the flavoured contribution to gin’s growth has been driven by pink gin. Flavoured gin alone brought in £165m during this time – up a huge 751% on the same period last year.
Research revealed the explosion in flavoured and pink gin comes down to its appeal to consumers under 45.
The category is expected to grow in 2019 as brands launch new flavoured and pink gins to market. According to HMRC, the UK exported £532m worth of British gin this year, which is expected to grow even more in 2019, adding to the value of the category.
WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “Gin is once again breaking records, helped by our innovative distillers, who have introduced an exciting array of new flavoured, pink and more traditional gins this year.
“The popular new products, combined with a fantastic long, hot summer and the excitement of the World Cup, have helped boost the category beyond all predictions.
“It was only a few months ago that we announced gin sales at home and abroad had broken the £2bn mark.
“Our latest market report shows sales of gin in the UK alone is just shy of £2bn. It seems we may have been a bit premature in hailing 2016 to be the ‘year of gin’. Just two years later we have almost doubled gin sales and 2019 will have to be crowned the year when gin was in the pink.”
A continued rising interest in gin from new and old consumers is what is pushing the spirit, according to Quintessential Brands CEO and co-founder Warren Scott.
He said: “It’s fantastic to see the nation’s love affair with British gin continuing as the category diversifies.
“Right now we’re seeing more interest and engagement in gin than ever from consumers – those who are new to the category as well as those more seasoned gin drinkers who want to experiment with flavoured gins or splash out on more premium gins.
“While innovation is key to driving interest in British gin, it’s important to recognise the longstanding gin heritage we have in this country and the enduring popularity of classic gins.
“While the past year has seen a huge surge of interest in new styles and flavours of gin, the majority of gins we’re drinking today are actually based on a style dating back to 1761, when the Original London Dry Gin was created by Thomas Dakin. That same gin, Greenall’s, is still produced in the same way.
“The run-up to Christmas has been busier than ever as we pull out all the stops to meet demand for the festive season. It’s certainly a golden era for British gin right now and I’m confident this success will continue in the years ahead.”