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UK gin sales hit record 80 million bottles

UK gin sales in retail stores and online hit a record high of 80 million bottles over the past year, as Covid-19 lockdown measures led to the widespread closure of pubs, bars and restaurants.

Releasing the figures ahead of World Gin Day this Saturday, 12 June, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said supermarket, shop and online sales of gin were worth £1.3bn in the 12 months to 27 March, up 30% on the previous year.

Flavoured gin sales broke through the £500m barrier for the first time, amounting to about 30m bottles and taking a 40% share of the overall gin market, with the WSTA predicting that this is set to rise further.

With pubs and bars only reopening on 12 April this year after long periods of enforced closure over the past 12 months, on-trade gin sales fell by 60% during 2020. Total gin sales in the year to 27 March just topped £2bn, the WSTA added.

‘Our latest gin numbers underline that reports of gin’s demise as the “go-to” spirit are wrong,’ said Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive. ‘Despite the on-trade representing many of our great British distillers’ “shop window”, and a great place for Brits to try new and exciting tipples, hospitality’s closure hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm to enjoy the vast array of gins now on the market.

‘Sales of gin have never been this high in our shops and supermarkets before – but this is encouraging news for our reawakening hospitality industry, too – some of these sales are certain to shift over to pubs, bars and restaurants.’

The current gin revival in the UK began in 2013, with renewed interest in the spirit prompting steady increases in sales over the next few years.

The number of distilleries in England has almost tripled since 2016, with the total number of distilleries across the UK hitting more than 560 in 2020, up from over 440 the year before.

Over lockdown, Argentinian wines, rosé and ready-to-drink cocktails were other areas that had significant growth, according to the WSTA Market Report. 

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