Gin explosion gathers pace by taking top spot as Britain's favourite tipple

Oliver Gill
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Diageo Reserve World Class 2012 Global Final - Tanqueray Terrace - Day 1
Tanqueray owner Diageo is celebrating its 20th birthday this weekend (Source: Getty)

Britain's gin makers today scaled new heights as the drink moved into first place as the nation's favourite tipple.

Sales over the 12 months to September hit 47m bottles, up almost a fifth on the previous year (7m higher), according to Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

This means Brits are snapping up the juniper-based spirit at a rate of nearly 130,000 every single day.

A YouGov poll released at the same time found 29 per cent of drinkers said gin is their favourite spirit, in top spot ahead of whisky (25 per cent) and vodka (23 per cent). One year ago, gin was in third place.

Most gin sales – around 38.7m bottles over the last year – were from shops and supermarkets. Some 8.8m bottles, worth £729m, were sold by restaurants and bars.

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Gin is also the seventh most valuable food and drinks export, with sales abroad of £474m over the last 12 months.

"The British public shows no signs of growing tired of trying new gins with well over 100 brands now available on the UK market," said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale. "It comes as no surprise that gin has climbed to the top of a poll of most popular spirit drinks."

News that gin is going from strength to strength comes as the owner of one of the world's most popular brands, Tanqueray, celebrated its 20th birthday.

Diageo, which also makes Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff was formed in December 1997 through the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan. The firm's 30,400 employees celebrated the birthday this week at various locations around the world. Diageo chief exec Ivan Menezes marked the occasion by yesterday opening trading at the London Stock Exchange.

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