Young UK drinkers attracted to gin as sales top £1bn

Sales of gin are set to break through the £1 billion barrier for the first time this year as young Britons increasingly get a taste for the spirit, a report released today reveals.

Gin sales are soaring and its younger drinkers leading the way. Picture: Neil Hanna

While the “gin revival” has been in full swing for a number of years, it is younger consumers who driving the spirit up the popularity ratings.

A study from analysts Mintel reveals that although over half (56 per cent) of white spirit and RTD (ready-to-drink) drinkers think gin is an older person’s drink, it is younger consumers who are the most likely to drink gin. Over two in five (42 per cent) Brits aged 18-34 have drunk gin in the past 12 months, compared to just over a quarter (27 per cent) of over-45s.

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Mintel research shows these younger drinkers in particular should help to boost sales of gin to more than £1 billion for the first time in 2015 (£1.04 billion), up by 25 per cent since 2012 when sales stood at £829 million.

Chris Wisson,senior drinks analyst at Mintel, said: “The strong performance of gin continues to stand out within the spirits market, and is widely seen as the most sophisticated type of white spirit by category users.

“One of gin’s sobriquets is ‘Mother’s Ruin’ and the drink still has certain associations with older drinkers, contributing to it being likely to be seen as an older person’s drink and the least likely as a young person’s drink.

“However, our research indicates that gin is in fact now most likely to be drunk by younger consumers, suggesting that it has a chance to forge a dynamic image and move into even more innovative areas.”

Jane Nicol, who co-founded Edinburgh Gin with her husband Andy in 2010, said she believed the growing interest in “craft” drinks that was boosting the sale of gin to young people.

“Younger people are particularly interested in the “hands on” idea of making things, cooking rather than ready meals, and the same applies to gin. Our gins have added flavours and botanicals which means customers know about the ingredients and what they lend themselves to.”

The company, which has a knowledge transfer partnership with Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, produces a range of gins including Edinburgh’s Christmas Gin with frankincense, myrrh and nutmeg, and Edinburgh Seaside Gin with seaweed, scurvvy grass and ground ivy.

Adam Hannett, head distiller at the Bruicladdich whisky distillery – producers of The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, which includes 22 island botanicals including gorse wild mint, heather and birch – said gin was now seen as a fashionable drink among younger drinkers.

“Gin is seen as a trendy thing. There is big movement in the revival of cocktails and experimenting with flavours and it lends itself to that.There are so many variations people can have their own style and take.

“The customers are very interested in the story behind The Botanist, where it comes from, ingredients we use, and how we make it. In many ways it can be seen as an art form.”