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Cunard luxury liner launches gin on tap as spirit lovers celebrate World Gin Day


Sales of gin in the UK have grown 12% in volume and 15% in the last 12 months (to 25th March 2017)

World Gin Day (10th June) coincides with an exciting first in the spirits world as cruise liner Cunard start serving guests gin on tap at sea this weekend.

To mark both these ‘gintastic’ events the Wine and Spirit Trade Association has compiled the latest British gin fast facts below.    

Pickering’s Gin has launched a unique collection of gins exclusively for Cunard’s three luxury liners – the Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth.

To coincide with the £34 million refit of the Queen Victoria - which sets sail on its first voyage around the Mediterranean today (Friday, 9th June) - the ship has been installed with the very first draft gin tap, at sea, serving Queen Victoria Gin.

Pickering’s Gin has a shared history with Cunard as co-founder Marcus Pickering’s great-uncle George Gibbons CBE RD RNR, sailed as captain of Cunard White Star liners from 1909-1944. These ships included: The Majestic, The Aquitania (“The Ship Beautiful”) and the legendary transatlantic liner the Queen Mary in 1936.

Marcus Pickering said:

“Working with Cunard is a dream of mine and the ability for small companies like ours to work with a globally recognised cruising brand has been a revelation. It is proof that it is possible for David to play nicely with Goliath in such uncertain times, and deals like this really help to secure the future of our business. Being a small part of Cunard has delighted my family. I might not be steering the ship, but at least I can lubricate its passengers!”

Based at Summerhall Distillery in Edinburgh, Pickering's Gin, has created three new unique London dry gins one to complement each ship. To find out more about the bespoke Cundard see their press release here.

Chief Executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, Mile Beale, said:

“Now that gin has well and truly proved that it is here to stay we are seeing fantastic new innovations in ingredients and serves. Advances such as the Pickering’s gin tap, on Cunard’s luxury liner, are a great way of showcasing to the world the excellence of British gin. The latest WSTA Market Report shows that consumers are willing to spend more for a quality gin experience. People have increasingly sophisticated palettes and are interested in the locality, provenance and authenticity of what they are drinking. Distillers like Pickering’s are producing and marketing their products to reflect this trend.”

The WSTA has pulled together a round-up of everything you need to know about British gin:

  • Gin sales in our pubs bars and restaurants (on-trade) have grown 12% by volume in the past year (ending 25/03/2017) to 56,000hls (8.1m bottles) worth £655m (+15% on last year).
  • Gin sales in the our shops and supermarkets (off-trade) have grown 12% by volume in the past year (ending 25/03/2017) to 242,000hls (34.6m bottles) worth £471m (+16% on last year)
  • Gin sales combined (both on- and off-trade) reached 298,000 hls in the past year (ending 25/03/2017) equalling 43million bottles, worth £1.1bn
  • The UK drank the equivalent of 1.12bn G&Ts in 2016
  • Gin sales have grown more than any other spirit sold in UK in the last year.
  • The UK hit its largest ever gin exports in 2016 - worth nearly half a billion pounds at £474 million.
  • The UK exports British gin to 139 countries around the world.
    • Since 2000, gin exports have increased by 73% and by value 166%.

  • The UK is the biggest gin exporter in the world. Half of all gin exports (by volume) go to USA and Spain.
  • In March, gin was added to the ONS’ typical shopping ‘basket of goods’ which is used to calculate inflation
  • The growth of gin has helped spirits duty revenues overtake that of beer and contribute more money to the Exchequer, a total sum of £3.4bn.
    • The UK saw a total of 45 new distilleries in 2016, an increase of 17%. Including 5 known licence cancellations in 2016, this brings the total to an estimated 273 distilleries in the UK. It is not known how many of these distilleries produce gin.
  • In the 2016 International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) 96 gins from the UK won medals. This is up from 75 in 2015
  • Mary Berry enjoyed seeing a gin & tonic drizzle cake on GBBO
    • Lord Sugar recognised that gin was the “spirit of the moment” one he tasked his competitors with creating a new gin brand on the hit BBC One show, The Apprentice last year.
    • The popular BBC Radio 4 programme, The Archers, saw Toby begin distilling his own gin in November 2016.  
    • An averaged priced 70cl bottle of gin is £13.66, at 40% abv, £10.33 of this goes on spirits duty.


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