2020 and 2021 have been surprising and significant years for the gin industry, both in the UK and abroad. At a time of locked-down pubs and restaurants, when everyone was expecting gin, along with other alcoholic drinks, to take a sales nosedive, something truly unexpected happened.
Confounding most predictions, the gin market is booming in 2022. There are more distilleries in the UK than ever before and sales volumes worldwide are approaching 1 billion litres in an industry now worth £9,350 million.
Here is a closer look at what’s been happening in the gin world over the past two years and what to expect in the years to come.
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A Surprising Lockdown Favourite
Globally, the alcohol industry was among the hardest hit by the extensive lockdowns and economic shutdowns that came to characterise life during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Gin was expected to fare no better than any other alcoholic beverage in these adverse circumstances. In fact, in markets like the US, where gin is still making a name for itself, bar and restaurant lockdowns were expected to deal a particularly heavy blow to gin distilleries and distributers.
As it turned out, however, both 2020 and 2021 were boom years for the gin industry, both in the UK and abroad. In February, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HRMC) department revealed that a record number of distilleries were registered in the UK last year and that the gin industry deserved much of the credit. Over the 12-month period, 124 new distilleries were registered – up 28% for 2019. This effectively doubled the total number of UK distilleries in just four years, almost tripling it since 2016.
In October 2020, the United Kingdom’s Wine and Spirit Trade Association reported that the trend of slowing gin industry growth did an about face during lockdown, with 22% volume gains and a 27% increases in sales. At the time, total gin (including flavoured gins) sales over the previous 12 months amounted to £1.1 billion, up by 15% from the same period the year before. This is despite the fact that total alcohol sales in the country had dropped by 20% (by volume), due to lockdown restrictions.
The US Falls In Love With Gin
It’s taken a very long time, but it seems that Americans may finally be getting into gin. Despite the challenges posed by bars and restaurants on lockdown during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, gin continued to make inroads into the US liquor industry.
According to German market and consumer data specialists, Statista, gin now has the fifth highest sales volume in the US spirits industry. In 2021, 10.16 million nine-litre cases of gin were sold in the United States. The volume of gin imported is 25.8 million litres, with exports at 5.4 million litres.
This slow but steady growth already began in 2020. According to the Beverage Information Group’s 2021 Handbook Advance, the overall gin category increased by 1.4% from 2019 to 2020. US national beverage alcohol retail magazine, Beverage Dynamics contrasts this to declines of 0.7% and 1.1% in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Amazingly, this turnaround clearly occurred right in the middle of global pandemic-related lockdowns. The increased numbers came as even more of a surprise in light of the fact that research showed that people were initially predominantly purchasing beer, vodka, bourbon, tequila, and wine – not gin – when stockpiling for at-home drinking.
Experts interviewed by Beverage Dynamics attribute this change of tastes, at least in part, to boredom. Perhaps people simply got tired of drinking their usual mixes and grew more adventurous as cabin fever set in.
Of course, it is also the fruition of years-long efforts by the gin industry to establish a place for itself in the US. Until recently, these experts say, many Americans have had negative associations with gin because their first encounters with the spirit exposed them to either a very traditional drink (not to the tastes of all palates) or a low-end brand.
As local retailers and mixologists cotton onto the finer nuances of gin and its many incarnations, they are managing to persuade people to give it another try. In many cases, this has become a story of love at second sip.
The 2021 Gin Numbers Are In
With the unexpected lockdown boom and climbing numbers as the world ventures back into pubs, bars and restaurants, gin is big business worldwide in 2021.
According to Statista’s consumer outlook for gin, revenue in the gin segment amounts to £9,350m in the present year. The site paints a rosy picture of the industry in the UK and across the globe. If you break this down to the individual level, it amounts to £1.24 per person. Meanwhile, the average volume of gin produced per person should amount to around 0.11 litres before the year is out.
By far the bulk of this 2021 revenue has been generated in the United Kingdom, which contributed £2.338 million. That takes the revenue per person in the UK to £34.27 and the per person volume to about 1.14 litres.
The most popular gin brands in 2021 are London Dry Gin, Gordon’s, India’s Bombay Sapphire, and Philippines export, Ginebra San Miguel. Ginebra San Miguel remains at the top of this list this year, after selling a whopping 31 million nine-litre cases in 2020.
Gin Market Expansion In 2022 And Beyond
Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, Statista predicts a continuation of the worldwide growth trend in the gin industry. It is anticipated that the gin market will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.9% globally and 14.08% in the UK, from 2021 to 2025. Global sales volumes are expected to grow by 8% in 2022, with an estimated 934.7 million litres sold by 2025.
Meanwhile, the UK market is expected to witness 14.08% CAGR between 2021 and 2025, with volume set to reach 94.2 million litres by the end of this period. Gin market volume growth of 9.3% is expected in 2022.
For more in-depth statistics regarding the UK and global gin industries, you can consult the following reports:
- Gin Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2021-2027 by HTF Market Intelligence Consulting Private Limited
- Global Premium Gin Market Report 2020 by 360 Market Updates
- Global and Japan Dry Gin Market Insights, Forecast to 2027 by Absolute Reports
- 2020-2029 Report on Global Premium Gin Market by Precision Reports
Whichever way you look at it, gin is on the rise. So, raise your glass to the drink that got the world through the prohibition and the pandemic!