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WSTA celebrates Mother’s Day with look at the UK’s gin sales

Alcohol Duty Review | 24 March, 2022

Covid led to almost £1 billion in lost income for British distillers

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association is toasting Mother’s Day (Sunday 27th March) with a dive into the highs and lows of the gin sector during the pandemic.

Latest figures released today show that gin sales in the UK dropped almost £1 billion in value – from £2.7 billion in 2019 to £1.9billion in 2020 – following a series of punishing lockdowns as pubs and restaurants were shut.

The dip in value for the sector comes despite a record number of bottles of gin being sold in our shops and online in 2020 – with over 78 million bottles sold – compared to 64 million bottles sold in the off trade in 2019.

The losses came from the closure of the hospitality sector which saw volume sales in UK bars and restaurants plummet 61% and value sales went down by 60% in 2020.

At the end of 2021, as restrictions began to lift, sales of gin over the last 12 months in the UK began to recover with £2.1 billion worth of gin sold in the on and off trade, the equivalent of almost 80 million bottles of gin.

Miles Beale Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“Our great British distillers did their best to keep businesses afloat during the challenging lockdowns of the pandemic, many of switched operations to the produce hand sanitiser for their local communities.

These latest figures show the punishing loses faced by distillers across the UK at a time when millions of pounds of private investment and hard work had been poured into the sector.

To support British SME distillers to make up their losses, stop them going under and encourage their recovery, the Government should do three things: extend the hospitality VAT cut, modify the proposed Small Producers Relief scheme by opening it to distillers and tax all alcohol, at the same rate per unit. The last two would allow the Chancellor to meet his own aims of– delivering a fairer taxation system by levelling the playing field.”

Karl Mason, Managing Director of Masons of Yorkshire, said:

“Here at Masons we are always surprised by the demand for Gin as Mother’s day gifts and our personalised bottles are particularly popular. As usual it’s busy until the very last minute with orders and busy on the last day when we can offer delivery before the weekend.

I would call on the government to consider the huge impact 2 years of Covid has had on the drinks and hospitality trade. We have gone through un-precedented times, and the future looks just as tough with rampant inflation on the horizon. This is going to put considerable pressure on our cost base and reduce demand due to consumers tightening spending – a double whammy for us.”

UK Gin sales on trade (CGA data) and off trade (Nielsen data) by volume and value:


(12 months up to 29/12/2018)


(12 months up to 28/12/2019)


(12 months up to 26/12/2020)


(12 months up to 01/01/2022)

Total UK gin sales (on and off trade) – volume 73 million bottles 83 million bottles 86 million bottles 80 million bottles
Total UK gin sales (on and off trade) – value £2.1 billion £2.7 billion £1.9 billion £2.1 billion

The UK’s spirit sector is made up of a large number of SME businesses and supports around 230,000 jobs across the supply chain.

Innovative British distillers, up and down the country, now offer a range of personalised gins, gift sets and special edition gins to cater for Mother’s Day presents.

The WSTA is confident that, owing to the continued popularity of gin, the spirit will prove just the tonic to aid in our resilient hospitality’s recovery, and is encouraging drinkers to head out and raise a glass on Mother’s Day.

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