Uist Distilling Company

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UK distillery numbers hit record high in 2020

08 February, 2021

New HMRC figures show that a record number of distilleries were registered in the UK in 2020, growing by more than 100 in 12 months to surpass 560.

The latest data means that the number of UK distilleries grew by 124, up 28% on 2019, and has doubled in total over the past four years.

The number of distilleries in England has almost tripled since 2016 to top 300 for the first time, while Scotland has increased its number to 214 and Wales and Northern Ireland have also seen a rise.

The total number of distilleries registered in the UK is now at least 563, up from 441 in 2019 and the WSTA is calling on the Chancellor to cut duty and extend the hospitality VAT cut at the upcoming Budget on 3 March.

The WSTA is also asking the Chancellor to extend the current VAT reduction across hospitality venues, until at least March 2022, and to broaden the scheme to include alcoholic drinks.

“It’s heart warming to find a positive story from the gloom of 2020 - and our bold and growing band of distillers have delivered once again,” said Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive.

With such a difficult 2020 behind us and a daunting challenge to recover in 2021, our distillers need the support of the Chancellor at the upcoming Budget.

“A freeze at the last Budget certainly helped distillers to invest and grow, but we need the Chancellor to go further this time, with both a duty cut and an extension of the VAT reduction in hospitality venues, until at least March 2022 - and including alcoholic drinks.

Distillers across the UK will play a vital role in 2021 and beyond as hospitality begins to open up again, and by showing his support for distillers at the Budget the Chancellor can also promote the hospitality industry as it rebounds from Covid-19 restrictions.”

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