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Golden age for British gin as 49 distilleries open in 2015

Published:  11 March, 2016

The full scale of the gin boom underway in the UK has been revealed for the first time.

Figures released today by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association show that 2015 saw 49 new gin distilleries open across the UK, while off-trade sales hit £400 million for the first time.

Sales in the on-trade for the year were worth over £500 million, according to the data compiled for the WSTA by Nielsen.

The on-trade is growing at almost twice the rate of the off-trade, the WSTA reports, and the rate of growth for both appears to be accelerating.

Off-trade volumes grew 10% in the twelve months to January 30, while on-trade volumes were up 20%.

Volumes in the last quarter, the twelve weeks to January 30, were up 13% and 23% respectively.

Sales of gin in Britain's pubs are growing faster than any other spirit, up 13% in 2015 and 35% since 2010.

The growth in the sector is fuelling a major expansion of distilling capacity across the UK.

In the last five years, the number of gin distilleries in England has risen from 23 to 91, with 25 opening in 2015 alone.

Since 2010, 29 gin distilleries have opened in Scotland, 11 in Wales and nine in Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland the number of distilleries almost tripled in 2015 alone, rising from four to 11, while the number in Wales doubled, up from six to 12.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: "This is a hugely exciting time for everyone involved in the UK gin industry. We have seen an incredible rise in the number of distilleries setting up in the last year.

"The WSTA Market Report shows that the sales of gin in our supermarkets and shops have broken the £400 million mark and half a billion pounds worth has been sold in pubs, bars and restaurants.

"This is a massive achievement and shows the Great British spirit continues to boom."

Some 140 million bottles of UK gin are now exported annually, around two-thirds of annual production.

Exports have risen by 37% in the past five years are are now worth £1.76 billion.

UK gin is now available in 139 countries worldwide.