Government challenges gin trade to match whisky exports

By John Wood

- Last updated on GMT

1.6bn gin and tonics were sold globally in 2014
1.6bn gin and tonics were sold globally in 2014

Related tags International trade Gin

A government minister has challenged the UK gin industry to match Scotch whisky in terms of its exports.

Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss emphasised the support the government was giving to the gin industry as she visited the Beefeater and Sipsmith distilleries in London today (August 10), and spoke of her ambition for the gin industry to match Scotch whisky exports, which topped £4bn in 2014.

A total of 1.6bn gin and tonics were sold globally in 2014, with the UK taking over the top spot as the world’s leading exporter of gin. The UK exported £394M worth of gin in 2014.

Truss said the government had helped the gin industry to export to a record 139 countries and said other measures of support for the industry included cutting duty on gin by 2% and serving gin at key overseas embassies, alongside other traditional British food and drink.

Huge opportunity

She said: “There is a huge opportunity for British gin makers to export more of our first-class products across the globe. Traditional distillers like Beefeater trade on the proud history of this quintessentially British drink and it’s fantastic to also see innovators like Sipsmith pioneering new techniques and contributing to British gin being enjoyed worldwide.”

She added that there was no reason why the UK gin trade could not be as successful as Scotch whisky, and emphasised the contribution it could make to building a stronger economy for the UK.

“We will continue to unleash the creative spirit of our food and drink entrepreneurs by giving them the freedom, the technology, the research and the people to think big, take risks and build profitable businesses,”​ she said. 


Between 2010 and 2014 a total of 73 new spirit distilleries opened in the UK – with 56 set up in the past two years, and the number of UK gin brands had also doubled since 2010 from 31 to 73.

Sam Galsworthy, co-founder of Sipsmith, said: “It is important that as an industry we constantly evolve and innovate to ensure that we create new and unique recipes that are loved the world over. In this way, we embrace the old ways while harnessing the new which makes for a potent and characterful combination.”

Damian Hinds, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “It’s great to see this truly British drink has become more and more popular both at home and overseas. In the March Budget the government cut the duty on gin by 2% and we will continue to show our support for this innovative and exciting industry.”

Meanwhile, take a tour of Bombay Sapphire's first distillery​ in this exclusive picture gallery.

Related topics Drinks

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