British-made craft spirits and wine are finally having their moment this year.
Marks & Spencer declared British gin the spirit of Christmas 2016 after reporting more than a quarter of a million bottles of its eight new gins made in the UK have been sold following their release this autumn.
Gin sales increased 150 per cent at the retailer since the beginning of the year, and M&S said customers are looking for locally made gin in particular.
M&S's branded spirits range includes gin from distilleries located in the Cotswolds, Wales, London and Surrey Hills, as well as British gins inspired by landmarks and the English countryside.
The use of local ingredients and botanicals give British-made gin an edge up on big brands.
“These are British gins with a sense of integrity, place and provenance – which is exactly what the newer generation of gin drinkers is looking for," Michael Wallis, spirits buyer for M&S, said.
With gin exports on the rise – three out of four bottles of imported gin around the world were made in the UK – the UK gin industry is getting a boost from abroad as well.
Wallis said, “British gin seems unstoppable at the end of 2016, and 2017 is set to be an exciting year!”
Another top seller is English sparkling wine, as sales for the home-grown fizz grew 300 per cent this year, M&S said.