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The number of distilleries has more than doubled there since 2013, thanks to this one liquor.

Mike Pomranz
January 17, 2018

For drinkers on both sides of the pond, the number of options in the world of beer, wine and spirits has never been greater… or at least has never been this great in most people’s lifetimes. In the U.S., the Brewers Association ended 2017 by officially announcing that the number of breweries in America had passed 6,000 – an all-time record. In October, the U.K. hit a similar milestone: 2,000 breweries – the most in the country in 80 years. And now, more news of Britain’s booming booziness:

Recently released data shows that the number of distilleries in the U.K. has more than doubled since 2013, thanks in a large part to the continued resurgence of gin.

According to new figures from HM Revenue & Customs (HRC), 49 new distilleries opened in the U.K. last year, compared to just seven closing, leading to a net gain of 42 new spirits producers. Overall, that brings the number of British distilleries to 315, up from just 152 in 2013, an increase of 107 percent. As The Drinks Business explains, the HMRC doesn’t state what kind of spirits each distillery is producing; however, the Wine and Spirits Trade Association, which published the numbers, firmly believes that gin is the culprit. Last year, Brits bought 47 million bottles of the juniper-based booze, an increase of 7 million bottles from the previous year, bringing the total to a new sales record.

“Gin is the key driver behind the surge in new distillery openings in the UK in the last five years,” Miles Deale, chief executive of the WSTA, was quoted as saying. “New gin brands continue to pop up on our supermarket shelves, on a regular basis, as Brits show no sign of tiring of the quintessentially British spirit. It wasn’t that many years ago when a pub would stock one gin brand and now a gin menu offering a range of gins and mixers is common place in our pubs and bars.”

Meanwhile, the craft distillery boom in America has been equally explosive. According to The Whiskey Wash, the number of US craft distilleries jumped from 560 in 2010 to 1,865 in 2016.