The number of gin distilleries in the UK soared over the pandemic, a local gin distillery sharing their take on new Alcohol Duty reforms. 

There are now 820 UK gin distilleries, according to the Office for National Statistics, up by 110 since 2020. 

This is a massive growth since 2015 when there were only 190 in total, which means there has been a 432% increase in gin distilleries across the UK since then. 

Micro distilleries, those with less than 10 employees, now make up 730 of all sites, up from 620 in 2020. 

Hugh Anderson, who runs the local Downton Distillery said this growth is 'excellent' but highlighted that there is work to be done to keep up this boom from going bust.

READ MORE: James May working on 'secret' gin recipe with Salisbury distillery

The industry has been benefiting from a spirits duty freeze announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the October 2021 Annual budget, which Anderson said has been key to the gin distillery boom. 

But he stressed that Sunak 'needs to take a serious look' at proposed alcohol duty reforms which were also announced last budget which, in a nutshell, mean the stronger the drink the higher the tax will be. 

Anderson added: "I would also like to see the introduction of a small distiller’s relief, as is standard in the brewing industry.”

The UK Spirits Alliance, representing more than 260 members, is calling on the Treasury to make alcohol taxation a “level playing field”.

It said new proposals would result in spirits remaining taxed at more per unit of alcohol than cider, beer and wine, while leaving the industry without access to tax breaks available to other alcohol producers.

Campaigners say this does not take into account modern drinking trends and will mean those enjoying a premium cocktail are penalised over wine, beer or cider drinkers.

A UK Spirits Alliance spokesman said: “It’s fantastic that the number of UK spirits producers have boomed in the last year, in spite of the pandemic. The UK spirits industry provide billions every year to the Exchequer and is responsible for key innovations like carbon-negative gins.

“But we need the Chancellor to support the industry as we look towards the review of alcohol duty, to build on the Prime Minister’s Queen Speech commitment to ‘support Scotch Whisky and Gin producers’.

“This is a once in a generation chance to make the alcohol duty system fairer and more representative of modern drinking trends.”

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