Exports of UK gin bounced back by more than a third last year to surpass pre-pandemic levels, but Brexit caused EU imports to the UK to plummet.
HMRC (His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) figures for 2022 cited by trade body The Gin Guild showed the total value of UK gin exports grew by more than a third to £731 million (US$884m), up from 2021’s figure of £542m (US$655m).
The 2022 figure represented a 9% increase on 2019 levels when the category’s exports hit £672m (US$813m). Gin exports from the UK tumbled by £100m (US$139m) to £572m in 2020.
However, exports of British gin to the EU have dropped by 4% since 2019, with the biggest declines seen in Spain and Ireland.
The Gin Guild noted the category’s popularity in Spain, Italy and Germany. However, exports to Spain have plunged by more than a third to £62.4m (US$75.5m) since 2019 due to Brexit.
Italy bucked the trend with ‘significant’ growth.
The US remains the largest export market for the juniper-based spirit with 2022 exports reaching more than £218m (US$263m), an increase of 6% on 2019.
The Gin Guild said markets in South America showed huge growth, led by Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
There was ‘significant’ growth for gin in Asian markets, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Since 2019, British gin exports have grown by £2.3m (US$2.7m) to Japan, by £4.5m (US$5.4m) to India, by £4.9m (US$5.9m) to the United Arab Emirates, by £3m (US$3.6m) to Turkey, and by £1.4m (US$1.7m) to South Korea.
Pal Gleed, director general of The Gin Guild, said the growth “reflects the quality, variety and reputation of British gin”.
He continued: “These latest figures show the potential for gin sales to continue to grow around the world as the spirit gains market share from other drinks which have traditionally dominated in some countries.”
Imports into the UK lag behind
Meanwhile, imports of gin into the UK are still down by nearly a quarter on the 2019 figure, representing a fall of more than £8m (US$9.6m), The Gin Guild said. But the 2022 figure saw a 2% increase on the previous year as the market slowly recovers.
The Gin Guild said Brexit has caused imports of gin from the EU to slide by a third, or almost £10m (US$12.1m), since 2019.
Imports from North America plummeted by more than half, representing a drop of £2.2m (US$2.6m).
Gleed added: “Despite the ongoing challenges of spiralling energy costs, price inflation, rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine, which all affect trading conditions, gin distillers have shown their resilience and their ability to innovate over the past three years.”
The Gin Guild will host its annual trade seminar, Ginposium, on 9 June at the RSA in London. The trade group’s membership now extends to 30 countries.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers