Distillers enjoying a boom

Gin-trepreneurs boosting UK drinks exports

Edinburgh GinThe explosion in Scottish gin distillers is contributing to an export boom in white spirits for the UK.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has revealed that exports of gin have now reached £390 million – an increase of 37% in just five years.

Scotland’s 16 distilleries account for 70% of Britain’s gin manufacturing – many of them springing up in the last few years.

Hendrick’s and Tanqueray – both made in Scotland – now account for more than a quarter of the UK gin market, the world’s biggest exporter.
Pickerings, Edinburgh Gin and NB Gin are among the 30 new brands that have made a major impact on the drinks industry and Scottish drinks manufacturing in particular. NB was chosen as the gin brand for the Brit Awards and Wimbledon.
UK Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “There is a huge opportunity for British gin makers to export more of our first class products across the globe. The UK’s reputation for excellent quality means our gin is the first choice for martinis in bars the world over.

“This is fertile ground with enormous opportunities. There’s absolutely no reason why our gin trade can’t be as successful as whisky. I want to harness the ambition of our gin-trepreneurs and see them match that in years to come.

“We will continue to unleash the creative spirit of our food and drink entrepreneurs by giving them the freedom, the technology, the research and the people to think big, take risks and build profitable businesses.”


Overseas sales of gin, however, remain well behind whisky exports which are ten times larger despite falling from £4.26 billion to £3.95bn last year. Even so, there is a belief that the gap could close.


Wine and Spirits Association chief executive Miles Beale said: “There’s no good reason why [gin] should not be as successful as Scotch.

“The number of craft gins, the way they differentiate themselves and the strength of demand is huge.

“If you look at population and by age there are gin drinkers in every category and that isn’t true of other spirits. Gin is very trendy and there are young people who are drinking gin.”

Photo: Edinburgh Gin is sponsoring the festivities in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh (by Terry Murden)

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