England now has more distilleries than Scotland, thanks to gin

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

24 January 2019

New data from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has revealed that, for the first time, England has more distilleries than Scotland – a development that the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) credits to the gin boom.

In 2018, the government recorded 166 registered distilleries in England and 160 in Scotland, for a total of 361.

On the whole, the UK gained 54 new distilleries last year: 39 in England, 11 in Scotland, two in Wales and two in Northern Ireland.

Scotland previously laid claim to the majority of the UK’s distilleries due to its production of scotch whisky, and some of largest distilleries in the UK are located in Scotland. However, gin’s massive growth – the category is now valued at £1.9 billion – has led to the rise of small, independent distilleries in England.

‘With all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit it is extremely reassuring that our talented spirit makers are continuing to innovate, invest and grow,’ commented Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive.

‘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. 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.’

Independent distilleries are expanding rapidly, and often with an experiential element – read about Manchester Gin’s plans to grow its distillery here

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