Number of UK distillers up a fifth amid rising spirit sales

16 March 2020, 10:09

File photo: The number of distillers jumped to 246
File photo: The number of distillers jumped to 246. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The number of UK distillers rose by a fifth last year amid rising sales of spirits, according to new research.

The total jumped to 246 as the increasing popularity of flavoured spirits became a major driver of growth in the industry.

Accountancy group UHY Hacker Young said the sector continues to attract investors, with UK gin export sales up by 9 per cent to £672 million in 2019.

Scotch whisky exports grew 4.4 per cent to £4.91 billion, according to the report.

James Simmonds, of UHY Hacker Young, said: "The growth in British craft distilling has not stopped yet. Whilst gin sales growth is beginning to taper off, new distillers are still entering the market.

"Growth won't continue at this rate forever, but, for now, domestic and overseas consumers' demand for UK craft spirits hasn't yet been met.

"The trend for authentic local artisan food and drink looks to be here to stay, and that will continue to tempt entrepreneurs and investors into the craft spirits industry.

"While artisan gin has been the big growth driver over the last five years, but there is also strong interest in some of the smaller artisan whisky distillers in Scotland."