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Retail gin sales hit all time high

Published:  10 June, 2021

Sales of gin in the retail sector have continued to soar during the pandemic, up 30% over the past 12 months.

The latest figures from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) reveal that in the 12 months to 27 March 2021 total UK gin sales inched over £2bn, with 80bn bottles sold in supermarkets, shops and online, worth £1.3bn, against £1bn in the preceding 12 months.

On-trade sales, meanwhile, plummeted 60% by volume and value in the 12 months to the end of 2020.

Flavoured gins remained a major driver in the off-trade, up 37% year-on-year, breaking the £500m bar for the first time, now accounting for 40% of all gin sales over the past year.

The figures, released ahead of World Gin Day on Saturday 12 June, suggest that ‘peak gin’ isn’t appearing on the horizon any time soon, which comes as good news for many of the SME businesses and distillers in the UK, which the WSTA estimates support some 230,000 jobs.

“Our latest gin numbers underline that reports of gin’s demise as the ‘go-to’ spirit are wrong. Despite the on-trade representing many of our great British distillers’ ‘shop window’, and a great place for Brits to try new and exciting tipples, hospitality’s closure hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm to enjoy the vast array of gins now on the market,” said WSTA CEO Mile Beale.

“Sales of gin have never been this high in our shops and supermarkets before – but this is encouraging news for our reawakening hospitality industry, too – some of these sales are certain to shift over to pubs, bars and restaurants.”

The gin boom began in earnest in 2013 as British consumers started to show renewed interest in the juniper-based spirit, marked over the following years by the rapid growth of artisanal brands and new distilleries.

Subsequently, the number of all distilleries in England has almost tripled since 2016 and topped 300 for the first time in 2020, with 311 registered distilleries, overtaking Scotland. Scotland also grew its number of distilleries to 214, and Wales and Northern Ireland saw distillery numbers grow too.

The total number of distilleries registered in the UK in 2020 grew to over 560, up from over 440 in 2019.