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.

WSTA launches draft Strategic Plan 2017-2022

The WSTA launched its new draft strategic plan for 2017-2022 at its Annual Conference earlier this week.

The plan outlines what the WSTA is seeking to achieve for its members over the next 5 years, and lays out four pillars through which the organisation plans to achieve this.

The WSTA aims to ensure that the wine and spirit industry is:

1. Appropriately taxed and regulated
The WSTA continues to press Government to ensure legislation affecting wine and spirit businesses is proportionate and fit for purpose; will continue to work to tackle all types of fraud; and aims to have wine and spirits recognised in the Government’s forthcoming Industrial Strategy.

2. Internationally focused
The WSTA has increased efforts to help members who want to increase exports. Recent missions to Japan to promote British gin and English sparkling wine, and events in Copenhagen and planned activity in Madrid, alongside a return to Japan and Hong Kong, are evidence of this.

3. Socially responsible
The WSTA has a proud record of working in partnership with Government to introduce voluntary labelling, and to develop local initiatives that tackle alcohol related crime and harm in local communities. WSTA’s work with retailers has led to guidance on the responsible retail of alcohol and policies around underage drinking. Community Alcohol Partnerships which will shortly celebrate its 10th anniversary.

4. Collaborative
The WSTA is committed to working with Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership, the Welsh Government Alcohol Industry Partnership and the Northern Ireland Alcohol Advisory Group, alongside work with the UK Government and the All Party Parliamentary Wine and Spirit Group in Westminster. Further afield, collaboration with European and International partners, through Comité Vins, SpiritsEurope, the World Wine Trade Group, FIVS and others is also essential.

Speaking at the conference, Miles Beale, Chief Executive, WSTA, described the new Strategic Plan:

“The Plan aims to consolidate all work the WSTA undertakes for members. It also seeks, for the first time, to outline goals we want to achieve as an Association during the next five years, as well as how we intend to achieve them.”

Members are encouraged to feedback on the draft report, which the WSTA is circulating throughout its membership. The agreed Plan will be published around the next WSTA Board meeting, scheduled for October.

Triple whammy strikes as price of wine goes up again

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association calls on Government to stop punishing consumers as the price of wine continues to soar, according to latest industry figures.

The WSTA Market Report published today (Tuesday, Sept 12th) reveals the impact of the triple whammy price hike - with the average priced bottle of wine, sold in shops following the March Budget, hitting £5.58, up 4% on last year.

Sales of wine in our pubs, bars and restaurants show an average priced 175ml glass of wine has increased 21p compared the same period last year.

These latest figures, published on the day of the WSTA annual Conference, take into account sales between the 26th March and the 17th June 2017. They capture alcohol sales for the three months following the Budget and show the trading landscape almost a year on from the vote to leave the EU.

For the first time we can see the how prices have been affected by the triple whammy resulting from Brexit’s impact on the pound, rising inflation and the 3.9% inflationary duty rise on alcohol imposed by the Chancellor at his Budget in March.

Total volume sales of alcohol across both the on and off trade are down for the fourth quarter in a row.

This coincides with a rise in the price of all alcohol products sold in shops, compared to the same time last year. And a rise in the price of most alcohol sold in pubs, bars and restaurants, with the exception of sparkling and fortified wine.

The pain is set to continue for Brits who enjoy a tipple as well as for the wine and spirit industry, which supports over 550,000 UK jobs, as duty increases are planned in the autumn budget which will be the second rise this year.

At the last Budget the Chancellor announced “no change” to alcohol taxation policy - meaning alcohol duty will increase, year on year, in line with RPI inflation for the duration of this parliament.

If this position holds in the Autumn Budget then wine duty will go up by another 8p a bottle, spirits 29p and beer will increase 2p a pint.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“The inflationary duty rise on alcohol – at a painful 3.9% - inflicted in the March Budget came on top of the effects of Brexit: the fall in the value of the pound, compounded by rising inflation.
The latest WSTA Market Report shows that consumers are well and truly feeling the effects of the triple whammy.

“But I am sad to say the pain doesn’t end here. The Autumn Budget is set to see alcohol duty rise by inflation once again. Unless Government starts showing support for our under-valued alcohol industry, in November we’ll find ourselves on the end of a further blow to follow up the triple whammy combination already dealt out to our industry this year. We need a time out from excise duty increases.

“The YouGov poll published in the WSTA Market Report reveals consumers’ unease at creeping costs, with 80% of people polled expressed their concern over the prospect of paying higher prices, up from 71% in February. It is time for the Chancellor to act positively by addressing the wine and spirit industry’s historically high and deeply unpopular duty levels.”

Following the EU Referendum in 2016 the UK wine industry has done its best to absorb rising import costs, but as predicted it was only a matter of time before any cushioning against the effects of a weaker pound ran out and costs were passed on to the consumer.

In three months to June the WSTA revealed that an average priced bottle of wine was at an all-time high, coming in at £5.56.

56% of the cost of the average bottle of wine is taken up in tax, including £2.16 tax and 92p VAT. Duty rates are even higher on products like English Sparkling wine at £2.77 a bottle.

Fourteen countries in the EU have zero rates for wine and therefore only 21% of a bottle of wine sold in France or Spain is taken up in tax and 19% in Germany.

Business giants take the stage at WSTA Annual Conference

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association is pleased to announce two keynote speakers at this year’s WSTA Annual Conference – the Minister of State for International Trade, Lord Price, and Wetherspoon boss, Tim Martin.

In conversation with Alex Forrest, former ITN political news editor, the two business supremoes will headline this year’s event under the title - Trading Spaces: Creative partnerships with the EU and the rest of the world.

Tickets are now on sale for the conference which is taking place on Tuesday 12 September at The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle St, London, W1S 4BS.

The WSTA Annual Conference will not only keep attendees up-to-date with the latest Brexit developments, but will also stimulate fresh ideas on dealing with the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The conference will debate what needs to be done to support the industry and invite attendees to think creatively about the opportunities that Brexit may present.

WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale said:

“We are pleased and excited to announce that this year’s WSTA Annual Conference has two business giants signed up as headline speakers.

For a global industry like wine and spirits their views on how business can survive and prosper post Brexit are guaranteed to stimulate interesting debate.

We know there will be challenging times ahead for our members and our aim is to work together to find the best way through which allows our industry’s historic trade flows to remain intact. But we need also to look to the future and global opportunities.”

Lord Mark Price joined the John Lewis Partnership in 1982. He spent 17 years on the board of Waitrose, becoming Managing Director in 2007, and was Deputy Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership from 2013.

Mark was appointed Chairman of Business in the Community in 2011 and Chairman of the Prince’s Countryside Fund in 2010. He stepped down from Waitrose in 2016 and was made life peer and appointed Minister of State for Trade and Investment. He was reappointed in June 2017.

He is also a successful author, penning books on food and on employee engagement. His most recent book, ‘Fairness for All’, was published in May 2017. Launching alongside the book, the Engaging Works website ( is designed to help businesses create happier workplaces.

Tim Martin is the founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon. His father worked for brewing multinational Guinness plc and became Malaysian marketing director. Martin was educated at eleven different schools around the globe before eventually studying law and qualifying as a barrister, which he gave up to set up Wetherspoon in 1979.

From a single pub, Tim has grown the business to the UK’s largest pub chain, which has over 900 UK outlets (plus 50 hotel) and employs over 38,000 people.

Tim was one of the few top business leaders to speak out in favour of Brexit. He welcomed the result and speaks regularly about advantages he sees for the UK drinks industry.

Tim emphasises the importance of being in touch with pub culture and what people want, which is what he says makes his business successful.

Following a “State of the Industry” address from Miles Beale, WSTA Chief Executive, and conversations with Lord Price and Tim Martin, there will be panel of experts – whose names will be released closer to the event.

The WSTA Annual Conference is the largest wine and spirit industry event and takes place in September each year.

It is a fantastic opportunity for WSTA members, potential members and guests from government associated bodies and the media to hear how the industry has being performing and of future potential trends.


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