England overtakes Scottish distillery numbers

24 January, 2019
English distillery numbers

New HMRC figures have revealed that England has more distilleries registered than Scotland for the first time in history.

In 2018 the UK recorded a total of 361 distilleries, with 166 based in England compared to 160 distilleries in Scotland.

The influx of gin distilleries has more than double the number of UK distilleries in the last five years with HMRC issuing 31 new distillery licences in England in 2018 compared to 11 in Scotland - in 2017 Scotland had a total of 149 distilleries beating England’s 135.

Chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, said: “It lifts the spirits to hear that distillery numbers continue to grow in the UK. It’s not just our gins picking up awards, but we have also seen a growing number of excellent quality English and Welsh whiskies too. 

“With all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit it is extremely reassuring that our talented spirit makers are continuing to innovate, invest and grow. With England now boasting more distilleries than its Scottish cousins, 2018 really has marked a moment in history.

"There is a significant amount of money being poured back in to the British spirits industry which has been helped by the Chancellor freezing spirit duty.”

The WSTA’s end of year market report showed a boost in gin sales over the summer taking the total UK sales value to more than £1.9bn, and according to HMRC the UK exported £532m of British gin in 2018 which is expected to grow even more in 2019 adding to the value of the gin category.

England had only 23 distilleries in 2010 compared to 166 last year, accounting for 58% of all UK openings in the last eight years.

Keywords: WSET, HMRC

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