SOARING demand for premium brands is the driving force behind growth in spirits sales, according to William Grant & Sons, with pricier products enjoying year-on-year uplifts in the double digits.
In its 2016 Market Report, William Grant & Sons valued the UK’s premium spirits market at £1.1 billion, a year-on-year increase of 18.6%, accounting for over a third of total spirits growth.
Total on-trade gin sales edged ahead of whisky.
And the on-trade was said to be the real success story, with premium spirits up 19.7% in value terms, meaning the sub-category is now worth £808 million to the UK’s venues.
The report attributed growth in premium spirits to changing consumer habits, including a fall in alcohol consumption, which has led to an increased demand for premium “experiences”.
“While beers, wine and spirits as an overall market is largely flat, the premium spirits category is in growth, driven by premium experiences, craft, authenticity and satisfying the consumer need of discernment, treats and social status,” the report found.
By category, gin’s ascendancy over the last few years was the stand-out success, with the white spirit edging ahead of whisky in the UK on-trade.
The report valued the total gin market at £578m, a nose in front of the whisky category’s £574m and the result of explosive growth in premium gin sales.
Sales of premium gins, which the report defines as those which sell for £23 or more per 70cl, grew by 58.6% in the year to April, breaking the £100m mark in the UK on-trade.
One feature of the premium gin category which could be driving customer interest is the sheer volume of new products coming to the marketplace.
William Grant & Sons said the category has seen “93 new brands listed over the last two years”, which has led to “greater consumer desire to experiment with new and different gins”.