Tequila and liqueurs were top of the shots in 2021 when it came to increased sales in UK shops and supermarkets, according to the latest Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) market report.
In the 12 months to 11 September this year, over one and a half million bottles of tequila were sold in Britain, up 36% on the same period the year before.
Moreover, the value of the popular spirit jumped to £33m in the same period, driven by tequila having gone from being a cocktail ingredient to becoming a popular sipping drink enjoyed straight.
It was a similar story for liqueurs which saw sales increase 27% to £561, with the equivalent of over 44 million bottles sold.
Sales were boosted by the growing range of colourful liqueurs available. This has proven popular with Brits who, keen to break the boredom of lockdown, enjoyed cocktail-making Zooms and sharing cocktail ideas on social media.
‘With the public having to find different ways of brightening up their weekends during the lockdown in the first half of this year we saw a keenness to experiment with new and exciting drinks choices,’ said Miles Beale, CEO of the WSTA.
The report also revealed that, as a result of the hospitality sector being locked down for much of the last 12 months, traditional spirits were also sold in much greater volumes in retail.
Vodka, of which over 102 million bottles were sold, remained the most popular spirit to drink at home followed by whiskies (almost 86 million bottles) and, in third place, gin (over 73 million bottles).
A slight dip in gin sales, down 1% in volume and 2% in value, was recorded although it is worth noting that this follows an incredible run of record-breaking growth in the last five years.
Liqueurs shot into fourth place and rum comes in fifth with a steady growth, up 13% in volume and selling over 37 million bottles.
Beale also took the opportunity to warn how the government proposals to overhaul UK alcohol taxation, announced in the autumn Budget in October, could hamper the growth of the British spirit sector.
‘We are mystified by a proposal that embeds unfairness between products meaning that the most popular spirit drinks will pay, for the same amount of alcohol, the highest rate of duty of any category of drink,’ he said.
Under the proposals you will pay 45p duty on a double G&T in a can, but if you pour yourself a double gin at home and then dilute with tonic you will pay 57p duty for your efforts, according to the WSTA.
‘The government proposals seem wholly contradictory to the stated aims of ironing out inequalities, instead it’s introduced yet more,’ added Beale.