Take-home gin sales increased by 12% to £424 million in the year to August 13 [Nielsen] against market growth of just 1% for all spirits in the off-trade.
The momentum behind gin seems to be gathering pace, with sales ahead by 15% in the last 12 weeks covered by the report, compared with the same period in 2015.
Non-Champagne sparkling wine grew 15% in the year to August against a 2% decline in the value of still wine sales. Champagne was also up, but by a more modest 3%.
The WSTA said forecasts at the start of this year had predicted that sales of gin across the whole market would hit £1 billion by 2017, but this figure has already been reached, with on-trade sales ahead by 21% to pass the £600 million mark.
The WSTA has revised upwards figures reported in January for new UK distilleries opened in 2015, from 49 to 56.
Gin accounted for 11.5% of all spirits sold in the UK by volume last year, up by a quarter on 2014. Annual value sales in the off-trade have risen by more than a third since 2012, over which time the average price per litre has gone up 18%, or £2.92.
WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “The gin revolution shows no sign of slowing and consumers are enjoying the celebrated juniper-based spirit in all sorts of creative ways.
“We were delighted to see a gin and tonic drizzle cake making an appearance in the latest series of the Great British Bake Off.”
The WSTA report also shows that sales of imported whiskey passed £250 milion for the first time in the year to August, with sales ahead by 6%.
Sales of single malt Scotch were up 5% and the WSTA forecasts that they could pass the £200 million mark next year.
In wine, New Zealand’s sales rose 13% to £386 million, with Argentina up 25% at £144 million.