Ima-gin that: British gin sales broke all sales records in 2015 while 49 new distilleries opened

 
Francesca Washtell
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Gin sales look set to top £1bn in 2016 (Source: Getty)

Sales of mother's ruin broke all records last year as 49 new gin distilleries opened across the UK, while shop and restaurant sales topped over £900m.

Shop sales of the juniper-based spirit reached over £400m in 2015, up 10 per cent on the previous year, while restaurant sales hit £500m, up 20 per cent year on year, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

In pubs alone gin tops the spirits table with sales up 13 per cent in 2015 and 35 per cent in five years, more than any other spirit.

The gin boom is also on track to continue, with forecasts in the WTSA's quarterly market report, due to be released later this week, showing UK sales, on and off trade, are set to break £1bn next year for the first time.

The multi-record breaking year in 2015 saw a 50 per cent rise in British gin distilleries. Between 2010 and 2015 a total of 117 new spirit distilleries opened in the UK, with 49 established last year.

Almost 140m bottles of gin made in the UK are now exported every year, with more than two-thirds of the gin distilled here being exported overseas.

"This is a hugely exciting time for everyone involved in the UK gin industry. We have seen an incredible rise in the number of distilleries setting up in the last year," chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, said.

"Exports have risen by 37 per cent in the past five years, with sales to 139 countries, worth £1.76bn."

The almost 40 per cent rise in exports over the past five years has been put down to the James Bond and Downton Abbey effect, which created a rise in the popularity of all things British. There has also been a 41 per cent increase in the value of gin imported to the US, the British gin industry's largest export market, over the last five years.

The gin boom has brought in an additional £38m in the past year, including £16.6m in duty and £21m in VAT.

Despite the record breaking growth in the spirits market, UK spirits duty is still the fourth highest in the EU at £7.26 on an average bottle, compared to £2.18 in Germany.


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