Why the gin trend is showing no sign of drying up

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

£601m worth of gin was sold in the on-trade last year
£601m worth of gin was sold in the on-trade last year

Related tags Gin Alcoholic beverage

The popularity of gin in the UK is showing little sign of waning with sales of the spirit breaking the £1bn barrier six months earlier than predicted according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

The association's latest Market Report, released today, reveals that £601m worth of gin was sold in the on-trade in the last year, £149m of which was sold in the last 12 weeks. 

Such is the spirit's unwavering popularity that not only are new and existing gin brands taking up increasing space on drinks menus, but in some bars, like Holborn Dining Room, it is the only spirit on offer​ and has even spread into other areas of hospitality, inspiring the creation of the first gin hotel​. The nation's love of a G&T has also led to the creation of themed snacks such as gin and tonic popcorn, crisps and ice-cream. 

"The gin revolution shows no sign of slowing and consumers are enjoying the celebrated juniper based spirit in all sorts of creative ways. We were delighted to see a gin and tonic drizzle cake making an appearance in the latest series of the Great British Bake Off," said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale. 

Pub classic

Beale said while beer had traditionally been associated with a visit to the pub, statistics from the report proved that wine and spirits are now equally as popular. Forty-nine per cent of the value of drinks sold in new pubs and bars between 2013 and 2015 were spirits and wine, with gin and sparkling wine leading the way. 

The popularity of gin has led to the creation of dedicated gin bars like this at Holborn Dining Room.

“The WSTA’s latest Market Report shows how popular gin has become with UK consumers, including those supporting British pubs. While bar owners and restaurateurs have seen the magic and versatility of the quintessentially British spirit gin menus and bespoke glassware are now a regular feature in pubs too," said Beale. 

The public’s unquenchable thirst for a gin experience has also led to a boom in distilleries. Last year 56 new distilleries were opened according to the HMRC – 28 in England, six in Wales, 10 in Northern Ireland and 12 in Scotland.

However, although the spirit has experienced 25 per cent growth in volume sales in the last year, it only accounts for 11.5 per cent of the UK spirits market by volume, coming behind vodka (29.7 per cent) and Scotch whisky (18.2 per cent). 

Fizz favoured

While gin sales showed impressive growth, so too did sales of sparkling wine and Champagne. Over the last year, £804m worth of fizz was sold in the on-trade, a 13 per cent rise on the previous year. 

Across both the on and off-trade sales reached £1.1bn, an 11 per cent rise on the previous year. 

"Wine too – the nation’s most popular alcoholic drink – continues to play an extremely vital role in our pubs, including as part of the broader British food and drink revolution," said Beale. "Wine and spirits, gin and fizz in particular, are now mainstays of a successful pub, showing the increasing diversity of our industry and the modern consumer.”

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