World Gin Day: celebrating in a lockdown world!
World Gin Day took place on Saturday 13th June amid a positive outlook for the gin industry. According to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), UK consumers bought a record breaking 83 million bottles of gin last year worth over £2.6 billion pounds. This means gin sales have almost doubled in value in just two years.
Online sales of gin
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased online sales. Indeed, gin is reported to be Britain’s best-selling spirit across online platforms during lockdown since March.
Ryebeck clients fully involved
Many of Ryebeck’s clients took part in the celebrations, including Norwich distillery Bullards, winner of six awards at The Gin Guide Awards 2019. “We launched a really nice packaged bottle of gin and a pouch“, says MD Russell Evans. “It was phenomenally successful on social media and we sold lots of the packages.”
Similarly, Karl Mason of Masons Yorkshire Gin sees the event as an important day in the calendar. “To celebrate World Gin Day, we had our first Facebook live broadcast. This was a major success with 12,000 views now. It’s a hugely important day to us, as we launched on World Gin Day in 2013. So it’s also our birthday!”
Henstone Distillery‘s London Dry Gin recently won ‘Best in Britain’ in the Gin Guide Awards 2020. Co-founder Chris Toller says: “We do believe World Gin Day helps promote the category. The gin market is very crowded, so brands have to stand out from the crowd to be noticed.”
Gin’s seven years of growth
The WSTA has tracked the growth in gin sales back to 2013. This is when British consumers started to show renewed interest in the juniper-based spirit. Over the next three years, sales continued to grow at a steady pace with new craft distilleries springing up across the country. In 2013, the WSTA reports that there were 152 distilleries in the UK. Today, there are at least 441 with exports worth £672 million in 2019. Total gin sales at home and abroad now total £3.2 billion.
Despite the meteoric success of gin sales, UK consumers are increasingly being enticed by the array of innovative cocktails and spirits like whisky and rum now available. Therefore, the growth in gin sales has slowed since its peak in 2018.
So, post-lockdown when pubs, bars and restaurants open again, will gin sales continue to show growth? Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the WSTA, says: “Gin sales continued to grow throughout 2019 despite a number of predictions that the bubble will have to burst soon. We knew that growth in the gin category would slow eventually. It was always inevitable given the incredible numbers we were seeing from 2016 onwards. We remain optimistic that British gin will continue to create a stir at home and abroad as our innovative distillers continue to produce new colours, creations and botanical masterpieces.”
Gin exports a significant source of revenue
Beale notes that while success at home looks set to continue, export markets remain particularly important. He also sends a clear message to government. “Online demand for gin has outstripped all others in the spirit category during the lockdown of the last few months. British spirits are world renowned. Provided our SMEs can survive the current economic uncertainty, there is potential – and significant motivation – to build UK spirits exports. But this will need the right government support, especially for SME distillers. We believe British gin exports could be a tonic for British SMEs post-pandemic recovery.”
Hopefully next year on World Gin Day, many more UK distilleries will be celebrating both domestic and global success of their new gins.
For exclusive articles on Henstone, Masons and Bullards Distilleries, see Ryebeck’s Industry Insight pages.
Author: Robin Goldsmith of The Write Taste.