London is in the grip of a gin boom with the capital now boasting at least 24 gin distilleries, accounting for one fifth of the total number in England.
In a recent survey 28% of London adults said they drank gin – the highest of any region in the UK.
But London gin makers have called on the Chancellor to put planned spirit duty on ice ahead of the Budget this month and support creative start-ups who have helped drive the gin renaissance.
Four London distillers have teamed up with the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, and 17 other distilleries nationwide, to write to the Chancellor calling for him to scrap planned duty rises for the second time this year.
In March the Chancellor increased spirit duty by inflation at 3.9% which added 30p to an average priced bottle of spirits. Yet despite the rise, the Chancellor now plans another increase to spirit duty again, just 8 months after the last one, by 3.4% adding another 26p to bottle.
The sneaky inflationary increases are part of a government policy planned to last for the duration of this Parliament, which means the Government is set to rake in £2billion from British gin over the next five years.
Entrepreneurial spirit makers are warning that the tax burden will stifle the growth of innovative, creative start-ups who have helped drive the gin renaissance and allowed British gin to break records both home and abroad.
London has seen over 20 specialist gin themed bars open in the last couple of years helping to quench the capitals thirst for the quintessentially British spirit.
One gin maker whose family started making gin in London over 150 years have returned operations to the capital this year.
Hayman’s gin have moved their distillery to Balham, less than four miles from where there first gin distillery was located.
James Hayman said:
“At a time of great uncertainty for the UK regarding our future International trading relationships, it is imperative that the government supports products made in England. The resurgence of gin has had such a positive impact on our economy and the government needs to ensure this can continue by not increasing duty further.”
Alex Wolpert, founder of the East London Liquor Company, said:
“We absolutely support a freeze to spirit duty, particularly as this is an opportunistic second increase this year at a time the government knows only too well that alcohol sales increase considerably over the festive period; duty already accounts for approximately 40% of our bottle price. With the current economic landscape, including the cost of living increasing and wages at an all-time low, the consumer ends up being the one to foot the chancellor’s duty increase, perpetuating the problem of the public’s expendable income being further reduced.”
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said:
“The recent surge in numbers of gin distilleries and bars opening in London is a real bonus for the Capital bringing a welcome lift to the economy, tourism and also creates jobs.
Instead of supporting these industries who are already reeling from a big tax hit in March the Chancellor is expected to hit them with another rise this month. We are calling on Philip Hammond to scrap planned rises which would give the London distillers a significant boost which will also benefit consumers.”
British gin has become the stand out success story when it comes to growth in the spirits category and continues to smash record sales both at home and abroad.
The WSTA’s most recent sales figures show more people are enjoying a gin at home than ever before, with gins sales in our supermarkets and shops breaking the £500m barrier for the first time, up £200 million since 2012.
This is the equivalent of 36.3m bottles sold in the last 12 months, up nearly half a million bottles on last year.
In our pubs bars and restaurants 8.3 million bottles of gin were sold worth £687m in the same 12 months.
If you tot up the on and off trade sales of gin in the UK in the last recorded 12 months Brits have bought 44.6m bottles worth £1.2bn.