Gin is 2016's trendiest drink, with sales growing in the UK and beyond

Courtney Goldsmith
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Flowers and a bottle of gin
2016 has been declared the year of gin (Source: Getty)

There's no arguing that 2016 has left many of us needing a drink at the end of the day, and no one has benefited from that more than the UK's gin industry.

British consumers drank 1.12bn gin and tonics in the last year, breaking the sector's £1bn sales mark for the first time ever six months ahead of forecasts, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association's (WSTA) latest market report.

On-trade gin sales increased by 19 per cent this year compared to last year, generating £619m, while off-trade sales were up 13 per cent to make £437m.

Read more: Eight of the best gins to rock your world

Gin has outperformed every other spirit category this year, and sales are still going up despite the tipple's traditional popularity as a summer drink.

The quintessentially British spirit is not only gaining popularity in the UK. Gin exports to the US have risen by 553 per cent in the last decade, and three out of four bottles of imported gin around the world were made in the UK.

Britain is fuelling the world's gin craze by building more and more distilleries. Between January and November this year, 40 new distilleries opened their doors. Last year, a total of 56 joined the market.

Read more: Love Drinks is now distributing Australian craft gin makers Four Pillars

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said he hopes the government will increase support for the UK's gin makers who have driven exports up 166 per cent since 2000.

Following the cut in spirits duty in the 2015 budget, spirits duty income increased on the previous year by £125m (4.1 per cent) from April 2015 to March 2016 inclusive.

The UK spirit industry is one of the most heavily taxed in Europe with 76 per cent of a bottle of spirits accounted for by tax, the fourth highest duty rate for spirits in the EU.

Let’s make sure gin continues to boom in 2017.

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