British Gin smashes new export record

British gin exports smashed all records last year with sales overseas worth almost half a billion pounds.

New HMRC figures show the UK hit its largest ever gin exports in 2016 - worth £474 million

British gin exports have gone up 32% in 5 years

‘Not on the High Street’ say sales of gin themed gifts shot up 51% in 2016

British gin exports smashed all records last year with sales overseas worth almost half a billion pounds.

If current trends continue exports of gin will hit the £500 million mark before the end of 2017.

More and more nations are clamouring for the sought after spirit with 139 countries now bulk buying British gin.

The latest HMRC figures show £474 million worth of British gin was sold abroad in 2016 – up 12%, worth £53 million more than the previous year.

UK gin exports have seen a meteoric rise and since 2012, adding the equivalent value of £227m in just five years. Volume sales have also risen by 36%.

Last year, without accounting for festive sales, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association dubbed 2016 ‘The Year of Gin’.

And the WSTA have been proven right as the end of year British gin sales have exceeded all expectations both at home and abroad.

WSTA Chief Executive, Miles Beale, said:

“The ‘Great British Gin Take Off’ 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. It is fantastic to see the quintessentially British spirit supporting a wider industry with gin themed gifts now selling like hot cakes. Britain is by far the biggest exporter of spirits in the world. We want the Government to get behind British business by supporting its spirit industry to help it reach its potential. The UK has the 4th highest excise duty rate on spirits in the EU, making British gin’s achievement more impressive. A modest 2% 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.”

The latest sales figures taken from UK shops, supermarkets, bars and restaurants confirm that gin sales are continuing to boom, with total sales close to £1.1bn.

The final count shows that over 41 million bottles were sold in the UK last year, up +12% on the same period last year.

Over one third of the bottles, more than 12 million bottles, sold in 2016 were during the festive season in the 12 weeks to New Year - compared to 9 million bottles sold over Christmas 2015.

44 new distilleries opened in 2016 meaning that exactly 100 new licences have been issued in the last two years. These HMRC figures do not take into account any distilleries that have closed.

The UK is now firmly in the grip of a gin craze as sales are reaching beyond just bottles of the spirit with gin related gifts and tours hitting record highs last year.

The leading online gift store, Not on the High Street, say sales of gin products shot up 51% in 2016, compared to the previous year.

Searches for 'gin' products on the site are up 31% and the website now boasts 1050 gin products available to buy.

Lucy Wilson, Category Manager for Food and Drink with Not on the High Street, said:

“We've seen the trend for gin themed gifts continue to grow throughout 2016. The public’s seemingly unquenchable demand for these gifts has resulted in a boom of products on site this year, including our popular Gin Tours and Gin & Tonic Lip Balm. Within our Food and Drink category we now sell 114 different Gins and Gin cocktail kits, with a wide range of unusual flavours including Hot Cross Bun, raspberry and mint gin.”

In Britain the duty on a 70cl bottle of spirits at 40% is £7.75, meaning that 76% of the cost of the average priced bottle of spirits in shops and supermarkets is taken up by duty and VAT.

This compares to Spain – who receive 45% of EU exports of British gin - and who pay just £2.69 in excise duty for a bottle.

The USA accounts for 59% of non-EU exports of British gin, by volume, but they pay less than half in duty than the Brits at £3.71

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

Notes to editors:

· The UK spirit industry generates £10bn in sales and £8.2bn in total contributions to the public purse.

· UK businesses and consumers pay the 4th highest duty rate for spirits in the EU accounting for a quarter of all Spirits duties (27.29%).

· Since 2012, spirits have added £634m (+21% or a fifth) in value sales to pubs of which £271m (+8%) was sold in the last year. These growth rates far exceed any other category with Beer up +1%; Cider - +2% since 2015.

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