Number of new distilleries in England jumps by 33% in just one year

This publication was covered in Daily Express, City AM and Metro on 25 April 2016.
  • 56 artisan distilleries opened in the UK last year

According to our research, the number of new distilleries that have opened in England has jumped by a third last year to a record high of 28, up from 21 in 2014. The popularity of UK artisan products, especially the surge in demand for boutique spirits such as gin, is driving this rise in new distilleries.

2015 saw a boom in the UK gin industry with sales nearly approaching a record £1bn, and with gin beating many other spirits as the drink of choice for younger drinkers*.

The rising popularity of distilleries follows the success of the UK’s craft beer industry. The UK also saw an increase in the number of new breweries, with 36 opening in the last year alone**, part of a broader wave of high margin artisan products.

New gins and distilleries which opened recently include:

  • Thames Distillers- producer of new gins; Chilgrove Gin, a gin which uses grapes as its base, and Gin Lane 1751, a gin distilled in a classic Victorian style;
  • Cotswold Distillery- producer of Cotswold Dry Gin, a recipe which was chosen by a panel of expert distillers and is set to launch in the US; and
  • The Lakes Distillery– producer of The Lakes Gin, which claims to be the first gin to be distilled in the Lake District.

James Simmonds, partner, comments, “Gin in particular has become a staple drink for many younger drinkers across the UK and new distillers are taking advantage of this.”

“This ‘gin-naissance’ has sparked a new craze for gin based drinks and cocktails and many innovative new distillers are experimenting in new and adventurous ways of producing it.”

These products can command a higher premium than other household name spirits as many are using local ingredients including unusual fruits and spices and locally sourced spring waters in their gin.

The number of new distilleries opening throughout the UK remains high with 56 opening in the last year alone.

James Simmonds adds: “The relatively quick production process of gin is another reason for the industry’s success. Gin distillers are able to generate revenue more quickly than whisky producers who have to wait for the whisky to fully mature – there’s likely to be many distilleries producing both gin and whisky simultaneously, but the whisky products won’t be available on the high street for some time.”

“The UK’s spirits industry remains strong for the economy as a large amount of gin and vodka is exported around the world, primarily to the US. With sales hitting £1bn last year and continuing to rise, this trend does not appear to be slowing down any time soon.”

England sees the number of new distilleries jump by a third last year

Graph 1

*States research by Mintel
**Year end Dec 31