The results are in: British gin smashed its export record in 2016, official figures have shown.
Research by HM Revenue and Customs suggest the UK fuelled the world's gin craze last year, exporting more gin than ever last year, selling booze worth £474m, up 12 per cent from 2015. If current trends continue, exports of gin will hit the £500m mark by the summer of 2017.
Currently, the quintessentially British spirit is being bought by 139 countries.
Gin exports have risen 36 per cent in the five years since 2012, adding the equivalent value of £227m to the economy.
Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), said British gin has grown into a global phenomenon. "The quality of the gin combined with the world’s love for brand Britain has seen British gin breaking records both at home and abroad," he added.
Britain is by far the biggest exporter of spirits in the world, but the UK has the fourth-highest excise duty rate on spirits in the EU, Beale said.
"A modest two per cent duty cut is a winning tonic that would boost the UK drinks industry, its employees and consumers as well as generating additional revenue to help public finances," Beale said.
The latest sales figures from UK shops, supermarkets, bars and restaurants, showed gin sales have surpassed £1bn. More than 41m bottles were sold in the UK last year, up 12 per cent on the previous year, and 44 new distilleries popped up in Britain over 2016.
Drinking habits have changed dramatically in the past five years, said Neil Everitt, founder and chief executive of Brockmans, one of the UK's fastest-growing super-premium brands.
Everitt said premium gin brands have been some of the biggest winners as younger customers look for new-style gins and premium mixers.
A recent report said gin sales are on track to overtake Scotch whisky sales by 2020. The Scottish spirit is currently one of the UK's most valuable export markets, according to the Food and Drink Federation.